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Born Fi' Dead: A Journey Through The Jamaican Posse Underworld
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Born Fi' Dead: A Journey Through The Jamaican Posse Underworld

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  131 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Of the ethnic gangs that rule America’s inner cities, none has had the impact of the Jamaican posses. Spawned in the ghettos of Kingston as mercenary street-fighters for the island’s politicians, the posses began migrating to the United States in the early 1980s, just in time to catch and ride the crack wave as it engulfed the country. Feared and honored for being “harder ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 15th 1996 by Holt Paperbacks (first published March 1st 1995)
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Thorne Clark
Jun 21, 2009 Thorne Clark rated it did not like it
A confused mix of memoir, participant-observer journalism, sociological study, and political condemnation. You get the sense the author is genuinely concerned about her subject matter, but she makes herself very present in the story in ways that can be irritating. (E.g., lots of apologies for being university-educated, casual references to the fact that she is dating and considered "daughter" to the locals, insistence on using terms like "sufferation" in her own Bostonian narrative, and conspicu ...more
Jan 01, 2011 Simone rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Eat, Pray, Love meets Shottas.
I was initially surprised when I came upon the memoir tone of this book, as I thought it would be one of those 'serious' sounding research pieces; then I realised that the light tone of the book took away the tedium that may have otherwise set in.
I enjoyed this book. And whilst I generally abhor and avoid addenda to books, I actually read the afterward (but not yet the introduction) and found it very touching; it really brought the whole concept of the book togethe
Christopher Krantz
Jun 10, 2010 Christopher Krantz rated it did not like it
The author obviously did a lot of research and seems to know the subject but that doesn't translate into a good book. The narrative is not coherent and the cast of characters is introduced and reintroduced and impossible to keep straight. There is far too much repetition for such a short book and she doesn't actually have any kind of insight into Jamaican gang culture other than a strained attempt to connect it to Hollywood Westerns and action movies. Overall, a fascinating subject compromised b ...more
Andrea Homier
May 17, 2009 Andrea Homier rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-non-fiction
A fantastic read about the source of New York's Jamaican gangs -- and the incredible violence of Kingston and Jamaica's political machine. Everything in this book was so far outside my knowledge base that it was all a revelation. The structure of the book keeps things interesting as well -- personal (heartbreaking) stories, history, political reporting. If you want to read a really different book that will take you places you've never imagined, this might be the one.
Jun 23, 2013 Chris rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The author commits the cardinal sin of being excruciatingly DULL. The book meanders and drifts before simply backtracking and repeating itself. I cannot understand how a self respecting editor or publisher let this see the light of day.

It is a real shame as buried somewhere beneath the turgid prose is a great story waiting to be told.
Ellis Amdur
Jan 15, 2015 Ellis Amdur rated it liked it
The tragedy of Jamaica.  From the slaughter of the Arawaks through the violence of colonialism, replaced by an internalized racism of lighter skin against darker, all of this a backdrop to the proxy war waged for decades between two political parties and two men:  Michael Manley and Edward Seaga.  Manley and Seaga recruited impoverished kids to kill each other for crumbs from the politicians table, and when, fueled by cocaine most likely brought in by the politicians themselves, things got out o ...more
Jul 24, 2009 Matteo rated it liked it
Shelves: history, woman-author
A troubling book - in that it tells the troubling story of Jamaica's violent history, but it is also troubling for its perspective.
The author, a white woman, citizen of the US, details in the book the book details how her (and my) own government has played a central role in the devastation of Jamaica, and the crushing of its hopes after independence, by ostracizing the democratic socialism of Michael Manley and supporting the (white) drug runner, union-buster, export-processing-zone-creator, vio
Melissa Eckstrom
Feb 04, 2015 Melissa Eckstrom rated it really liked it
Great read for my first dive into Jamaica's history, but the book seemed to lack organization. I loved meeting some of the people that she met, like Brambles, who took the author under his wing and gave her a way to communicate with many of the people she formed friendships with on the island as well as in the United States. I think the book is worth reading but if it was structured differently it may form a more solid work. I loved the poem that the book is titled after, and that she used photo ...more
Shane Kiely
Good, more of an account of the author's experiences in Jamaica during the turmoil of the 70s & 80s & her time among the Jamaican posses in Brooklyn than an overview of the culture as a whole. Though the book does incorporate a more pared down look at the socio political origins of Jamaica's violence in the context of Jamaican history & examines interesting elements of the Posse/Yardie culture. Very readable.
Erin Crowley
Jan 16, 2008 Erin Crowley rated it liked it
I'm in the middle of this book now. Really brings you into the Jamaican culture. Shows you an inside view of what the government and gangs and the people of Jamaica were/are all about. Living in the carribbean and being surrounded by many Jam's, this book deffinatly helps me grasp their culture and way of thinking a little better.
Jul 17, 2013 Ray rated it really liked it
Yeah its a bit jumbled, but I found it to be a good overview of the complex politics of 60'-80's Jamaica. I did not know about the origins of some of the Jamaican gangs in NYC and Miami. The author was brave to get into the trenches for this.
Jul 08, 2012 Leonie rated it it was amazing
My dad gave me this book to read. I was astonished and amazed at how you think you know someone, but you would have no idea! If you are a Jamaican and want to full in the blank, pick up this book and it will either educate or irritate you; either way it's a must read.
Lesia Quamina
Jul 14, 2010 Lesia Quamina rated it liked it
The book was very interesting. The writing style of making the author present in the presenttion of historial facts and the gathering of evidence help keep the reader interest.
Jul 19, 2010 Marie rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the book. But I have heard the acurracy has been questioned.
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