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Tulia: Race, Cocaine and Corruption in a Small Texas Town
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Tulia: Race, Cocaine and Corruption in a Small Texas Town

Author : Nate Blakeslee
Narrated By : James Boles
Published By : Audio Evolution LLC
14 hours
Social & Economic
Our Price : $34.95

Early one morning in the summer of 1999 authorities in the tiny west Texas town of Tulia began a roundup of suspected drug dealers.

By the time the sweep was done, over forty people had been arrested and one of every five black adults in town was behind bars, all accused of dealing cocaine to the same undercover officer, Tom Coleman.

Coleman, the son of a well-known Texas Ranger, was named Officer of the Year in Texas. Not until after the trials--in which Coleman's uncorroborated testimony secured sentences as long as 361 years--did it become apparent that Tom Coleman was not the man he claimed to be.

Tulia is the story of this town, the bust, the trials, and the heroic legal battle to reverse the convictions that caught the attention of the nation in the spring of 2003.

With a sure sense of history and of place, a great feel for the characters involved, and showdowns inside the courtroom and out. Blakeslee's Tulia is contemporary journalism at its finest, and a thrilling read. The scandal changed the way narcotics enforcement is done in Texas, and has put the national drug war on trial at a time when incarceration rates in this country have never been higher.

But the story is much bigger than the tale of just one bust.

As Tulia makes clear, these events are the latest chapter in a story with themes as old as the country itself. It is a marvelously well-told tale about injustice, race, poverty, hysteria, desperation, and doing the right thing in America.


Tulia, in Blakeslee's rich and deeply satisfying telling resembles nothing so much as a modern-day To Kill a Mockingbird, or would, that is, if the novel were a true story and Atticus had won. --The New York Times Book Review

"Those familiar with the travesty of justice that led to multiple bogus drug arrests in the small Texas town of Tulia only from newspaper accounts will be outraged anew at this eye-opening narrative that bears comparison to such courtroom and litigation classics as A Civil Action. This devastating indictment of the toll taken by the war on drugs, viewed through the prism of one small community, is a masterpiece of true crime writing. ...this haunting work will leave many wondering how many other Tulias there are out there." Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Blakeslee's excellent and eminently readable book is a wonderful story of justice triumphant, but his vivid portrait of law enforcement gone wrong suggests that there are more Tulias than there are lawyers dedicated enough to expose them." --Washington Post

Nate Blakeslee, a former editor of the Texas Observer, broke the Tulia story for the Observer in 2000. The cover story was a finalist for a National Magazine Award. In 2004, he won the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award for his drug war reporting. Blakeslee's work has also appeared in Texas Monthly and The Nation. He is a Soros Justice Media Fellow. He lives in Austin, Texas.

James Boles is a native son of Texas.

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