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Inside the Crips
Life Inside L.A.'s Most Notorious Gang
Colton Simpson with Ann Pearlman; Foreword by Ice T
St. Martin's Griffin, November 2006
ISBN: 978-0-312-32930-3, ISBN10: 0-312-32930-X,
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 352 pages,
Trade Paperback, $16.99
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African American Studies
African American Studies - All Titles
Young Adult Literature
Young Adult Nonfiction
Colton ("C-Loc") Simpson was a Crip. From the impossibly young age of ten in the mid-1970s, Simpson's world was defined in terms of war. By the time he quit—the first gang member allowed to do so—he'd risen through the ranks to become Stabilizer and later, General. Simpson was the son of Dick Simpson, a ballplayer for the California Angels, but even before he became a gangbanger, his childhood was tough. Raised by his grandmother at the edge of Los Angeles's South Central, Simpson didn't turn to the streets so much as become engulfed by them: without asking to be part of the gang, his induction into the Crips involved running down an alley while the members opened fire on him as he ran.
Simpson was an elite gang soldier, loyal to a fault, participating wholly in a system whose rules and unique ethics he quickly mastered. But Simpson's run at the top of the Crips was cut off by betrayal, injury, and a prison stint that plunged him into an even fiercer war beyond gang violence: the war in Calapatria prison between the Crips and the corrections officers.
Inside the Crips
is an intimate detailed look at gang life in the 1970s-1990s, and at the same time a story of both buoyant camaraderie and devastating loss. It places the reader in the center of the rush that comes from participating in gang violence and puts the extraordinary life and times of one Crip into a larger context.
"Simpson shows us exactly how and why a bright, personable kid comes to join a gang and why that same kid would choose to stay despite the lethal risks, the soul-battering violence, and the inevitable incarcerations . . . Simpson gives us fresh, detailed snapshots of this highly disciplined supergang existence, where survival involves keeping abreast of group politics so intricate they resemble high-court intrigue."—
Los Angeles Times
Simpson's book paints a stark portrait of life in prison as the conflict between the Crips and its rival gang, the Bloods, is magnified by the claustrophobic surroundings."—
The Washington Post
"This unvarnished portrayal of gang life is enlightening and even inspiring about a subject badly in need of illumination."—
American Library Association
"A raw account of Los Angeles gang underworld and his life as a thief, thug, and triggerman in the bloody battle between the Crips and the Bloods."—
"The Crips, one of two notorious L.A. street gangs that have attained national prominence, is a famously difficult organization from which to retire alive. Colton 'C-Loc' Simpson did, however, and now provides an insider's perspective on day-to-day life in the Crips, the gang's history (including quite a bit about its rival, the Bloods), and the plight of growing up in the 'hood while wanting a better life. To free himself from poverty and constant physical danger, Simpson made some changes. His former wife Gina once accused him of 'acting White.' He replied, 'You think I'm some bourgeoisie Negro? My changes aren't negative and White. They're positive and pro-Black'—which reveals both changed attitude and just how wide the racial-cultural gulf has become. Though gritty, Simpson's story is by no means hopeless. 'Life is something to live and do, not to verbalize,' he says shortly before signing off with 'In Struggle, Little Cee (Loc, no more).' This unvarnished portrayal of gang life is enlightening and even inspiring about a subject badly in need of illumination."—
"The world Simpson evokes with Pearlman's help is fascinating, and his narrative is clearly heartfelt. For those readers willing to look, the book provides a window into an often misunderstood way of life."
About the Author(s)
lives in Los Angeles.
is the author of
Women and Psychotherapy , Keep the Home Fires Burning,
She has a private psychotherapy practice in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she lives.
An excerpt from
Inside the Crips
describing Colton Simpson’s induction at age 11:
“You wit’ it?” Big T asks, but he doesn’t look at me.
“I’m down,” I tell them, waiting for the discussion of my worthiness and loyalty to begin.
“When I say run, run down the alley and don’t stop,” Smiley orders.
I take a quick glance down the alley.
View Entire Excerpt
© 2014 Macmillan