The Gulf monarchies (Saudi Arabia and its five smaller neighbours: the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain) have long been governed by highly autocratic and seemingly anachronistic regimes. Yet despite bloody conflicts on their doorsteps, fast-growing populations, and powerful modernising and globalising forces impacting on their largely conservative societies, they have demonstrated remarkable resilience. Obituaries for these traditional monarchies have frequently been penned, but even now these absolutist, almost medieval, entities still appear to pose the same conundrum as before: in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring and the fall of incumbent presidents in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, the apparently steadfast Gulf monarchies have, at first glance, re-affirmed their status as the Middle East s only real bastions of stability. In this book, however, noted Gulf expert Christopher Davidson contends that the collapse of these kings, emirs, and sultans is going to happen, and was always going to. While the revolutionary movements in North Africa, Syria, and Yemen will undeniably serve as important, if indirect, catalysts for the coming upheaval, many of the same socio-economic pressures that were building up in the Arab republics are now also very much present in the Gulf monarchies. It is now no longer a matter of if but when the West s steadfast allies fall. This is a bold claim to make but Davidson, who accurately forecast the economic turmoil that afflicted Dubai in 2009, has an enviable record in diagnosing social and political changes afoot in the region.
In America, 2.3 million people—a population about the size of Houston’s, the country’s fourth-largest city—live behind bars. Sick Justice explores the economic, social, and political forces that hijacked the criminal justice system to create this bizarre situation. Presenting frightening true stories of (sometimes wrongfully) incarcerated individuals, Ivan G. Goldman exposes the inept bureaucracies of America’s prisons and shows the real reasons that disproportionate numbers of minorities, the poor, and the mentally ill end up there. Goldman dissects the widespread phenomenon of jailing for profit, the outsized power of prison guards’ unions, California’s exceptionally rigid three-strikes law, the ineffective and never-ending war on drugs, the closing of mental health institutions across the country, and other blunders and avaricious practices that have brought us to this point. Sick Justice tells a big, gripping story that’s long overdue. By illuminating the system’s brutality and greed and the prisoners’ gratuitous suffering, the book aims to be a catalyst for reform, complementing the work of the Innocence Project and mirroring the effects of Michael Harrington’s The Other America: Poverty in the United States (1962), which became the driving force behind the war on poverty.
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