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  1. BGO doesn't handle long book titles or multiple authors well, so the book is: The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood, by David Simon and Ed Burns David Simon, who wrote the book and TV series Homicide before this, and Ed Burns, a retired BPD officer, spent a year in the mid-nineties on a randomly chosen drug corner in Baltimore, MD. They were 'embedded journalists' in a war well before the term was coined, and it's key to the success of the book. The war they were reporting on is The War on Drugs, and they decided the best way to get the real story was try and live among those most affected for a year. (I think they feel the same way I do. How can you have a war on a nebulous concept? You might as well have a War on Terror. Oh wait.) The book is at heart a soap opera based around the McCullough family and their friends, extended family, dealers, suppliers, enemies, etc., that live on the corner of Fayette and Mount in Baltimore, MD, but the authors broaden it out to include many other themes like alienation, poverty, economics, city politics, the policing of the drug neighbourhoods, and most of all, the children who are caught up in The Corner. Also, there's an HBO adaptation of the book as a miniseries in six one hour episodes. I watched that first and thought the book was a novelisation, it's that true to the book. Fans of The Wire will like it, if only for spotting the crossover between the characters and the actors between the two shows. The real life DeAndre McCullough from The Corner turns up in The Wire as an actor playing Prop Joe's bodyguard. Fat Curt, the most haggardly, pathetic, drug-addled man on the corner is played by the same actor who went on to be the doll's house furniture maker Lester Fremon. The real-life Fran Boyd plays the receptionist at the detox centre where the character Fran Boyd goes in search of a bed. The real Jay Landesman turns up in The Wire playing that senior cop with the steel-grey moustache and glasses. But book or TV show, the epilogue to each is quite the most moving half hour of telly watching / book reading you can ask for. It's a big book, 500+ pages, but not a tough read. All the characters are worth following, but I find Officer Bob Brown and Miss Ella Thompson are two worth keeping an eye on. I can't find a great piece about the economics of the drug trade (short version: so very much money in drugs and no money anywhere else) so here's the authors on stopping the WoD: See, there's anger there, polemic too, and more than a touch of indignation at what's been done to their city. Wonderful book, even better HBO series.
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