Elizabeth Hinton has written a searing expose of the use of federal, especially executive, power from the 1960s through the 1980s to create a prison nation in the United States. With its vast scope and sweeping arguments, it’s the kind of book that upends prevailing accounts and opens up broad new territory for future research. Her study raises many new questions in a host of subfields, and it’s likely to catalyze many dissertations.

Hinton argues that we have not been looking in the right place to understand the so-called white backlash to civil rights struggles, or what Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor has more recently termed a “counteroffensive.” Numerous books and articles have been written on opposition to busing or school desegregation; on efforts to dilute, gerrymander, or suppress the right to vote; on racism within unions in auto and steel plants as well...

You do not currently have access to this content.