For those involved in studying critically the U.S. criminal justice system, Ruth Gilmore's Golden Gulag has been a promise long-delayed. The book has been talked about, in often reverential tones, for many years now. After all, in addition to being a first-rank scholar -- Gilmore is a geography professor at USC and director of the university's American Studies and Ethnicity program -- the author is also one of the country's leading anti-prison activists.
I feel, having just read Andrei Markovits's Uncouth Nation, a profound satisfaction. It's not that Markovits is a great stylist; he's assuredly not. His sentences are sometimes maddeningly convoluted, and the book itself is poorly organized, with many key examples illustrating his arguments buried deep within the text. Nor is it that I agree with all of his arguments, though I do find most of them compelling.
David Rose, author of Guantanamo: The War on Human Rights (The New Press), talks with TAP about the brutality of American guards, legal doctrines that guide them, and the casual acceptance of torture carried out by interrogators.
What led you to write about the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in the first place?
Eleven years ago, my ﬁrst year living in New York, I sat on the roof of International House on the edge of Harlem, with hundreds of other students, raucously celebrating as elections in South Africa, half a world away, ﬁnished off the apartheid regime and brought Nelson Mandela's African National Congress to power. Drinking beers and singing freedom songs, none of us doubted that the election signiﬁed a historic event as transformative as the razing of the Berlin Wall.