Viator’s conclusions about the cultural impact of Hip-Hop resonate today—they are accurate, timely, and timeless… By confronting the harsh realities of LA race relations and police brutality from the ’60s to the ’80s, To Live and Defy in LA sees Gangsta Rap as an important way to understand how systemic racism has worked (and works) in America today.—Deanna Costa, Arts Fuse

[An] engaging history of gangsta rap’s emergence and eventual commercial success.—Katherine Rye Jewell, The Metropole

Much more than the story of the creation of gangsta rap, the rise of NWA, or the history of early West coast rap in general. It’s a cultural history. What one is left with at the book’s end is the powerful idea of how art can be formed out of pain and suffering, and how injustice can be the crushing weight that can incite change.Under the Radar

Rattling hatchback trunks and terrifying suburban parents, gangsta rap went harder and further than everything that preceded it. Suddenly, everyone was listening and the media wagons began to circle… Viator excavates this music’s unique political, social, and mercantile origins.—Raymond Cummings, The Wire

Zero[es] in on how economic devastation and militarized policing bred a subgenre whose extreme lyrics were fueled by indigence… A fast-paced and engaging read for music fans, history buffs, and anyone with an interest in social justice… Eye-opening.—KQED (San Francisco, CA)

This book was really fun to read… [Viator] gives a comprehensive, interesting view of how this genre came to change our culture.The Los Angeles Review of Books Radio Hour

[Viator’s] understanding of the hip-hop music and the musicians that first emerged from the streets of L.A. in the ’80s is deep and profound.LA Weekly

Rich with drama and details, To Live and Defy in LA tells the story of Los Angeles hip-hop during the eighties, a much-mythologized but often misunderstood period.—Hua Hsu, author of A Floating Chinaman: Fantasy and Failure across the Pacific

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From Our Blog

Jacket: The Strategy of Conflict, by Thomas C. Schelling, from Harvard University Press

Schelling the Trailblazer

Books influence us in untold ways, and the ones that influence us the most are often read in childhood. Harvard University Press Senior Editor Julia Kirby is reminded of this on the anniversary of the birth of one of this country’s most celebrated economists. This month would have brought Thomas Schelling’s one-hundredth birthday—and he got closer to seeing it than many mortals. The Nobel laureate economist died just five years ago, after a brilliant career as both a scholar and an advisor to US foreign policy strategists. What better day to dip into his classic work