There have been three systematic attempts to subjugate poor blacks in the US: slavery, Jim Crow, and the war on drugs.” Does that sound a bit exaggerated, over the top? Not to me. I’ve just finished Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, which is rationally argued, supported by a wealth of evidence and totally persuasive. She’s a lawyer, with an encyclopaedic grasp of decisions and precedents which have created this sutuation, but she’s also a human rights activist who knows the history. On top of that she has a wide range of contacts, which have given her a wealth of case studies which are individually heartbreaking but contribute to an irresistible argument. I doubt if I’ll read a better book this year.