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Publisher's Summary

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 40 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 the 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.
©2005 Nate Blakeslee (P)2006 Audio Evolution, LLC
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Critic Reviews

"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)
"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)
"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)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By JOHN on 03-23-08

A Must Read

To call this story 'entertaining' isn't really the right word, since this true story is about a struggle of the underdogs against an oppressive criminal justice system gone terribly wrong. Perhaps 'shocking, disgusting, tragic, enraging, travesty, hatred, victimization, and redemption' are more suitable terms when it comes to describing the events in Tulia. It is terrifying to learn that such things can still occur in America. It causes one to wonder just how many more Tulia's are out there that have simply been allowed to happen.

A very compelling read/listen. It will definitely cause your blood pressure to spike. Highly recommended and I would say it can be called a MUST read.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Angie on 04-09-07


This book shows the best and the worst of the legal system. As a lawyer myself, I was sickened to hear of the gross miscarrage of justice for these defendants convicted on only the word of a shady undercover narc. This book shows how wrong things can go whenwhen police and prosecuters don't want to play by the rules. On the other hand, the lawyers that took on this case during the post conviction stage are the very best in our profession, countless hours, untold expenses and no pay. These lawyers exemplify the spirit of pro bono work and make me proud to count myself a member of the profession. It is a hard story to listen to if you have any sence of humanity and justice.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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