Reading Los Angeles: L.A. Times’ new book club selects ‘Ghettoside’ by Jill Leovy for February


L.A. Times' book club selects 'Ghettoside' by Jill Leovy for February


Jill Leovy, author of the book "Ghettoside: A Story of Murder in America"
(Jill Connelly / Random House Publishing Group)


About the Book | Event Videos | Event Details | Join the Conversation


Join the Conversation

After our last event with “Ghettoside” author Jill Leovy, we asked two criminologists to weigh in on her book. Below are links to their responses and a review of the book.

Better to pre-habilitate children than rehabilitate killers
By James Alan Fox
"As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of prison time. It is better that we pre-habilitate children when they are still young and impressionable, rather than try to rehabilitate them later after the damage is done." Read more


Black communities: overpoliced for the petty, ignored for the major
By David Kennedy
"Leovy says high-crime black communities are underpoliced. Isn't the problem in fact that they’re overpoliced? The community is up in arms over mass incarceration, zero tolerance, stop and frisk, and all the rest. How can it be sensible for anybody to ask for more of the same?" Read More


Review: 'Ghettoside' focuses on one L.A. murder to make case for more policing
By Sudhir Venkatesh
"Jill Leovy's new book takes us a long way toward answering this question. "Ghettoside" is her penetrating look at the Los Angeles Police Department — the title is taken from the nickname a Watts gang member gave to his neighborhood." Read more


Event Videos


Event Details

When: March 10
Where: Chevalier’s Books

Dear Reader,

A few weeks ago, we started a new book club called Reading Los Angeles. Books inform and engage us and the great ones help change the world, whether it’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which changed the way we think about race and social justice, or “Jaws,” a book which led to a movie that changed pop culture forever.

I’m pleased to invite you to join me and fellow bibliophiles at a Reading Los Angeles event on March 10, at Chevalier’s Books, which is celebrating 75 years as one of Los Angeles’ finest independent book stores.

Our special get-together will feature our very first book selection — “Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America.” Author Jill Leovy, one of The Times’ distinguished staff writers, will sit down with me to discuss her book, which follows one case — the killing of an LAPD officer’s son in South Los Angeles, and uses it to explore the "plague of murders" in African American communities.

RSVP and mark your calendar now. Whether you’ve read the book or not, it will be a thought-provoking evening.

I hope to see you there,

Austin Beutner, Publisher and Chief Executive


About the Book

Each month, we will select a book; journalists and staff from the Times will moderate a discussion about the book, and, on occasion, we'll suggest other ways to explore the topic ranging from dining to arts and culture.

To inaugurate this book club, I have selected Jill Leovy's "Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America." Leovy, one of The Times' staff writers, has drawn wide praise for telling a complex, nuanced story that is too often ignored. “Ghettoside” follows one case, the killing of an LAPD officer's son in South L.A., and uses it to explore the “plague of murders” in African American communities. “Ghettoside” got its start in The Times' groundbreaking Homicide Report; it goes beyond conventional thinking to raise provocative, timely questions about policing in urban environments.

I hope you enjoy the reading as much as I do.

Austin Beutner, Publisher and Chief Executive

Purchase a copy of Jill Leovy’s book at the Los Angeles Times Store. It is also available on Amazon and Indiebound.

To keep up on our Reading L.A. monthly selections and events, sign up at