June Thomas of Slate reports on newly released book titles and the world of publishing in The Book Reader.
No one needs telling that corruption is a bad thing, but two riveting new books look beyond the headlines to show the lasting emotional damage that dishonest dealing can wreak on people's lives.
In 2010, Philadelphia Daily News journalists Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker won a Pulitzer Prize for their investigation into widespread corruption in the narcotics division of the Philadelphia Police Department. In "Busted: A Tale of Corruption and Betrayal in the City of Brotherly Love," out now from Harper, they explain exactly how they got the story. The book reads with the zing of a thriller, but ultimately, it's a tale of perseverance and pluck from two devoted reporters who kept on digging even as the newspaper business imploded around them.
In the novella "Every Day Is For the Thief," Nigerian-American writer Teju Cole tells the story of a young man returning to Lagos after many years in the United States. Now almost an outsider, he is appalled by the corruption that pervades every aspect of Nigerian life, from functionaries seeking bribes, to the "yahoo yahoos" attempting international email fraud, to store owners openly selling pirated goods. Although the narrator understands why many Nigerians are driven to these deceptions, their behavior disappoints and angers him. But then, of course, he has the luxury of heading home to New York City.
Look for reviews of these and other new releases on the Slate Book Review at slate.com/books.