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I am Raymond Washington: The only authorized biography of the original founder of the Crips

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I am Raymond Washington provides the reader with an unprecedented look into the life of the founder of the Crips. Forget everything you have been told about who started the Crips and why. Most of it is wrong, very wrong. Welcome to the only authorized biography of the undisputed founder of the Crips. Filled with interviews of friends, family and acquaintances from people w I am Raymond Washington provides the reader with an unprecedented look into the life of the founder of the Crips. Forget everything you have been told about who started the Crips and why. Most of it is wrong, very wrong. Welcome to the only authorized biography of the undisputed founder of the Crips. Filled with interviews of friends, family and acquaintances from people who knew and grew up with, Raymond Lee Washington. Don't look here for horrific stories of gang violence and crimes committed by gang members, that has been done before. If you are looking for a factual and intuitive look into what made Raymond Washington unique in the mean streets of Los Angeles, this book is for you. This book is filled with stories and eyewitness accounts of those that knew who the real founder of the Crips gang was, what he represented to the people that knew him, and hopefully explains why his name is still spoken on the streets of Los Angeles with hatred, fear, and awe and reverence. Entering the world of Raymond Washington with an open mind was difficult for me but eventually the story of who Raymond Washington was as a leader, warrior, tactician, and mentor became clear. Hopefully it will become clear to the reader why the gang was so successful and explain how an apparently unremarkable 15 year old kid in the fall of 1969 would sit down with his best friend and form what would become one of the single most successful and yet feared and hated gangs in the world, The Crips. I am Raymond Washington won a Bronze medal in true crime in the 2015 IPPY awards. I am Raymond Washington was a Finalist in the 2015 IAN Book awards contest in both General Non Fiction and the Bio/memoir categories. I am Raymond Washington won a Bronze Medal in Non Fiction/Bio in the 2015 Readers Favorite International book awards. I am Raymond Washington is a Finalist in Non Fiction in the 2015 Kindle Book awards


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I am Raymond Washington provides the reader with an unprecedented look into the life of the founder of the Crips. Forget everything you have been told about who started the Crips and why. Most of it is wrong, very wrong. Welcome to the only authorized biography of the undisputed founder of the Crips. Filled with interviews of friends, family and acquaintances from people w I am Raymond Washington provides the reader with an unprecedented look into the life of the founder of the Crips. Forget everything you have been told about who started the Crips and why. Most of it is wrong, very wrong. Welcome to the only authorized biography of the undisputed founder of the Crips. Filled with interviews of friends, family and acquaintances from people who knew and grew up with, Raymond Lee Washington. Don't look here for horrific stories of gang violence and crimes committed by gang members, that has been done before. If you are looking for a factual and intuitive look into what made Raymond Washington unique in the mean streets of Los Angeles, this book is for you. This book is filled with stories and eyewitness accounts of those that knew who the real founder of the Crips gang was, what he represented to the people that knew him, and hopefully explains why his name is still spoken on the streets of Los Angeles with hatred, fear, and awe and reverence. Entering the world of Raymond Washington with an open mind was difficult for me but eventually the story of who Raymond Washington was as a leader, warrior, tactician, and mentor became clear. Hopefully it will become clear to the reader why the gang was so successful and explain how an apparently unremarkable 15 year old kid in the fall of 1969 would sit down with his best friend and form what would become one of the single most successful and yet feared and hated gangs in the world, The Crips. I am Raymond Washington won a Bronze medal in true crime in the 2015 IPPY awards. I am Raymond Washington was a Finalist in the 2015 IAN Book awards contest in both General Non Fiction and the Bio/memoir categories. I am Raymond Washington won a Bronze Medal in Non Fiction/Bio in the 2015 Readers Favorite International book awards. I am Raymond Washington is a Finalist in Non Fiction in the 2015 Kindle Book awards

30 review for I am Raymond Washington: The only authorized biography of the original founder of the Crips

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carol Kean

    Raymond Washington, a name that has been overlooked, gets some of the credit that is his due, thanks to this biography by Zach Fortier. Everyone's heard of the Crips, but not everyone knows who started the L.A. gang, and even those who were there argue about the origins of the name. Raymond Washington "started the Crips between the ages of fifteen and sixteen, with bare minimum education, and absolutely no management or leadership training. He just understood leadership at a gut level and perfecte Raymond Washington, a name that has been overlooked, gets some of the credit that is his due, thanks to this biography by Zach Fortier. Everyone's heard of the Crips, but not everyone knows who started the L.A. gang, and even those who were there argue about the origins of the name. Raymond Washington "started the Crips between the ages of fifteen and sixteen, with bare minimum education, and absolutely no management or leadership training. He just understood leadership at a gut level and perfected his skills by trial and error." At a tender age, Raymond Washington manifested "survival of the fittest." He commanded fear and respect, devotion, loyalty, and a roughly equal measure of hatred, vengeance, and fierce competition from rivals and victims. Washington was elusive, showing people different facets of his personality and character, so I can understand why Zach Fortier would have a hard time pinning down a definitive character sketch of a man who could channel Robin Hood as readily as Atilla the Hun. He made enemies: "What no one ever tells you in the Robin Hood story is that robbing someone of their possessions really pisses them off," Fortier writes. "They get mad as hell, and fight back." As a child, Washington navigated the chaotic streets of the Watts riots, escaping arrest or injury, bringing home swag from a looted sporting goods store. He could have sold his loot. Instead, he gave it away to neighborhood kids. "Raymond was forging alliances, leveraging relationships with his peers, and showing his future leadership style," Fortier writes. "Granted, it was with stolen property, but the legend that Raymond Washington would become was being born. He did Robin Hood like charity on one hand, and on the other, he conducted fearless raids into enemy territory against overwhelming odds, and lived for battle in the streets of Los Angeles." On the one hand, this is a violent law-breaker known for killing the same guy twice: at the funeral, he'd show up, shoot the corpse, and turn over the casket, adding more than mere insult to injury. Fortier sees a parallel in this to Achilles, warrior of Homer's epic: "Both Achilles and Raymond Washington were more interested in the glory of war, than the spoils of war," and "Each had a ten-year battle for the possession of a city. Each lost a best friend in the battle. Finally, each desecrated their enemies’ bodies in plain sight of their grieving loved ones." Washington also had his own "Achille's heel" - "Much like Achilles, the hero of the Iliad, Raymond had a weakness that his enemies had exploited. He valued loyalty and friendship over everything else. That value was used against him as he was called to the car by a familiar voice. He was met by a shotgun blast to the abdomen. The occupants then drove away." Raymond knew who shot him, but didn't tell anyone. He died an hour later. Others say the prose is dry, and the biography falls flat. I found it riveting. A gang leader who didn't drink, didn't do drugs, never was seen getting high like everyone else around him: this guy was smart. "He felt he had to always be ready for combat, and had to be sharp to survive." I cannot even imagine growing up in the world he grew up in. Here was a young man who had the right stuff, the self discipline, the power and charisma, intelligence and skill, to command armies and earn medals of honor. He deserves to be remembered. Many would say "he had it coming," but his story is a reminder that we can do better, as a society, a people. How to reach kids like Raymond Washington and channel that passion and power without the senseless violence of life in the big-city streets? I grew up on a farm in the Midwest, sheltered, isolated. Nothing in my world ever prepared me to live in the world Raymond Washington grew up in. My heart aches for the loss, the bloodshed, the tragedy of a life cut short - most likely as a consequence of his cutting short the lives of others. Sad, It's all so sad, I'm off to walk my dogs in the meadow and woods, and hope-pray-dream for ways to make the world a better place.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Randall

    Reviewed for Readers Favorite Over a kitchen table in 1969, in a small apartment in Los Angeles, two best friends were talking of forming their own gang. One that would become one of the most widely known and feared gangs of the modern era, the Crips. Only the three men in that room, the two founders, both now dead, and the youngest brother of one of them would ever know the true story of the name and the man, until now. I Am Raymond Washington is the story of growing up in the streets of Los Ang Reviewed for Readers Favorite Over a kitchen table in 1969, in a small apartment in Los Angeles, two best friends were talking of forming their own gang. One that would become one of the most widely known and feared gangs of the modern era, the Crips. Only the three men in that room, the two founders, both now dead, and the youngest brother of one of them would ever know the true story of the name and the man, until now. I Am Raymond Washington is the story of growing up in the streets of Los Angeles, where is was common to get up every morning and walk a couple blocks to the corner where the local Black Panthers were giving out free breakfast to the kids. Raymond turned twelve the week of the Watts Riots, and was able to watch them from his apartment, although he is said to have been out in the violence. He would grow up seeing things that would be unbelievable to someone growing up in a different type of neighbor, and it all influenced the formation of the Crips. Zach Fortier, with the help of Derard Barton, Raymond's younger brother, tells the story of Raymond's life in a non-judgemental way so as to give you a glimpse into the why and how, and let you, the reader decide what is right, wrong and just somewhere in between. I Am Raymond Washington should be read by everyone, no matter what you know or feel about the Crips or gangs. I found historical incidents that occurred that would influence Raymond's views of the police, and well that of all the residents of the Watts, Compton and South LA area that I had never even heard of before. Zach Fortier, as a former police officer involved in gang crime, admits in the writing that even he was shocked to learn of some of the behaviors and incidents that occurred that would shape Raymond's views of the world. Derard Barton, Raymond's brother helping with the telling of this biography lends a human side to Raymond, not just the tough, ruthless, powerful street thug leader of the notorious Crips. Even if this is something you never think you would read, pick it up, give it a chance, it might just enlighten you in a way you never imagined.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Victor Muthoka

    The Man Behind the Crips: His Story Occasionally you encounter a book that leaves you with mixed feelings. This was one such book for me. Raymond Lee Washington, the subject of this brief biography, was the founder & leader of the Crips, a fearsome American street gang. The author (a former police officer for 30 years interestingly enough) writes of Raymond from the stance of an individual with insight into & ideas about the street life. He does a very good job of staying impartial & viewing his The Man Behind the Crips: His Story Occasionally you encounter a book that leaves you with mixed feelings. This was one such book for me. Raymond Lee Washington, the subject of this brief biography, was the founder & leader of the Crips, a fearsome American street gang. The author (a former police officer for 30 years interestingly enough) writes of Raymond from the stance of an individual with insight into & ideas about the street life. He does a very good job of staying impartial & viewing his subject as just a human being. This is of course difficult for the readers. What stands out the most is that for better or worse, Raymond was a naturally gifted leader who has an innate insight into the human soul. He knew how to not only win people over to his set, but how to keep them loyal to him. He has a duality of character to him that is such a tarot of the human soul. He can be a savior or killer in an instant. Perhaps the most telling of one side of his duality is what the caretaker of the grave yard in which he's buried comments: “A lot of people come & sit, talk, and then leave. Raymond is one of the most visited graves in the cemetery. He must have been somethings special because people keep coming and he has been here a long, long time.” This is a story of a life shaped by environment around it coupled with willful choices made. A study in how every choice has a consequence who's impact can be felt long after we’re gone.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Apex Reviews

    Written in a conversational, no-nonsense manner, Zach Fortier's latest work, I Am Raymond Washington, reads like the best of modern detective fiction. However, this is no novel. It's an extensively researched work of journalism on par with Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. The book begins with the author explaining his motivation, and his intentions, namely, to uncover his subject's true identity in a fair, impartial manner. That said, Fortier lives up to his promises. Indeed, despite being a former Written in a conversational, no-nonsense manner, Zach Fortier's latest work, I Am Raymond Washington, reads like the best of modern detective fiction. However, this is no novel. It's an extensively researched work of journalism on par with Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. The book begins with the author explaining his motivation, and his intentions, namely, to uncover his subject's true identity in a fair, impartial manner. That said, Fortier lives up to his promises. Indeed, despite being a former cop, he subtly empathizes with Raymond Washington, the original founder of the Crips. The book is equal parts biography, character study, historical background, oral history and sociology. Unlike many biographies, it follows no set "plot". While Washington is the linchpin that holds the book together, he is not always front and center. The author discusses the political, social, and socio-economical conditions that inspired Washington, providing a rich background to the action of the story. Several chapters deviate from the main thrust of the narrative, and read more like critical essays than stories. Nonetheless, they are every bit as engaging as they are devoted to debunking myths surrounding the Crips and its founder, that outsiders have ignorantly—and somewhat comically—accepted. Additionally, they question—and answer, no less—many fundamental mysteries about gang life, one such being the reasons why people join gangs. Fortier supports his conclusions with his exhaustive research (consisting of official documents, newspapers clippings, interviews, etc.) and allusions to classical Western literature, like Homer's The Iliad or the works of Joseph Campbell. However, Fortier leaves ample room for the reader to make his or her own conclusions. In the book, Washington emerges as the Macbeth of South Central Los Angeles, a tragic hero whose flaws include unbridled ambition and a sense of invulnerability, which led him to found the Crips at the age of fifteen. Those same flaws, in ten years' time, gradually made him irrelevant to his own gang. Rounding out this theatrical allusion, Washington's downfall comes courtesy of Chekhov's gun. Thoroughly researched, intelligently written, full of larger than life—but very much real—characters, and colored by rich emotion untarnished by melodrama, this slim volume serves as both the chronicle of a man's life and an examination of the last 46 years of American history. Chris Sitko Apex Reviews

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Everyone has heard of the Bloods vs the Crips, but the mythology of arguably the most well known (and feared) gangs in American culture overshadows the truth of their origins. This book adeptly cuts through the misconceptions, tall tales and myths surrounding the Crips and their founder, Raymond Washington. Washington, the charismatic leader and founder of the Crips, is the main subject of this biography. The author has painstakingly cut through all the disinformation and uncovered the truth abou Everyone has heard of the Bloods vs the Crips, but the mythology of arguably the most well known (and feared) gangs in American culture overshadows the truth of their origins. This book adeptly cuts through the misconceptions, tall tales and myths surrounding the Crips and their founder, Raymond Washington. Washington, the charismatic leader and founder of the Crips, is the main subject of this biography. The author has painstakingly cut through all the disinformation and uncovered the truth about who Mr. Washington was, and examines the psyche of his infamy - while feared by many, to some he was a neighborhood hero, a Robin Hood type figure who doled out street justice. The book delves into the mistrust of the police by the neighborhoods, and analyzes the racial tension that Washington came to rise in and witnessed as a child, which sowed the seeds of his revolutionary spirit. Fortier's latest volume is a departure from his other autobiographical works, but his voice is unmistakable in print. While it is a bit awkward in earlier chapters, which for the most part read as a lengthy research-paper type of style, stick with it and you will be rewarded. The book finds its groove in Chapter 5, when the intimacy of his conversational style helps bring Mr. Washington to life through analysis of the psychology of gangs, and why they are so successful in our culture. The dots suddenly connect in a big way, bringing new life to the old discussion of "Why" anyone would join a gang knowing that chances are high you will end up incarcerated or dead. This discussion alone makes the book worth the "price of admission". The book is packed with exclusive photos, documents, and interviews with family members and friends of Mr. Washington, allowing an unprecedented look into life inside the Crips and a balanced look at the many often conflicting facets of Washington's personality. Recommended for readers interested in the psychology of gangs, gang leaders, and biographies of enigmatic leaders.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jody

    Zach does a great job with this one. You can tell he has put a lot of effort into it with research and interviews. I've never understood the draw gangs have on people but that is because I am a white male in the southeast US. I remember watching the news when the reporters would talk about murders and battles between two different groups called the Bloods and the Crips. I thought that it was a couple of new gangs that had just started up. Little did I know that they had been around longer than m Zach does a great job with this one. You can tell he has put a lot of effort into it with research and interviews. I've never understood the draw gangs have on people but that is because I am a white male in the southeast US. I remember watching the news when the reporters would talk about murders and battles between two different groups called the Bloods and the Crips. I thought that it was a couple of new gangs that had just started up. Little did I know that they had been around longer than me. When I started this book I thought I was going to be reading about something that started up in the late 80's. I had no idea how deep the roots of the gang mentality went. I also didn't fully understand the circumstances in which these gangs were born and began to thrive. Zach takes you there, explains it to you while entertaining you at the same time. This is a good look at Raymond Washington and his legacy. There are a lot of photos that really add character to the story that were linked to the text in the Kindle addition so that was a very nice touch. Zach also corrects a lot of the lies that have been told about the Crips over the years as he digs through the layers to get the truth. This is a great book, easy to read and will really hook you.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Gritty, Interesting, and Mesmerizing This book piqued my interest not only because I enjoy reading "true crime" type stories but also because of an acquaintance I met about 10 years ago. The circumstances of our meeting was nothing bad. We had an opportunity to have some in-depth conversation and I do believe if I had know the name Raymond Washington, this man would have been able to tell me similar stories. I found this book to be quite interesting and I would hope Mr Washington's famine appreci Gritty, Interesting, and Mesmerizing This book piqued my interest not only because I enjoy reading "true crime" type stories but also because of an acquaintance I met about 10 years ago. The circumstances of our meeting was nothing bad. We had an opportunity to have some in-depth conversation and I do believe if I had know the name Raymond Washington, this man would have been able to tell me similar stories. I found this book to be quite interesting and I would hope Mr Washington's famine appreciated his honest reporting of the life of Raymond, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Me

    The photos and comparisons to other "leaders" throughout the book were very interesting. Loved the myths/facts section. Nice to see multiple sides of individuals (even a little insight into the author). Great that he can show individuals as people NOT monsters no matter what has been said or done. Can't wait to see what ZF has in store for us next. Keep it up ZF, I'm sure you have a lot more stuff to share. Thanks

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dan Phillips

    Zach doesn't disappoint with his latest piece of work. The story of Raymond Washington, the man, and the leader of the crips is exquisitely told. I really enjoyed this book. Awesome job Zach!!! Keep up the great work!!!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Norah Peter

    This was a very interesting read but the way it was written and organised was not very appealing to me and some chapters seemed to be very repetitive. I enjoyed the concept and the story behind this leader. The book left me wondering are leaders like Raymond Washington deserve to be celebrated? Does the end really justify the means?

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Burns

    Great read, with photos! Very interesting. Set the record straight who started the Crips, and why. Really liked the photos, brought the book together.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Shadira

    I am Raymond Washington provides the reader with an unprecedented look into the life of the founder of the Crips. Forget everything you have been told about who started the Crips and why. Most of it is wrong, very wrong. Welcome to the only authorized biography of the undisputed founder of the Crips. Filled with interviews of friends, family and acquaintances from people who knew and grew up with Raymond Lee Washington. Don’t look here for horrific stories of gang violence and crimes committed b I am Raymond Washington provides the reader with an unprecedented look into the life of the founder of the Crips. Forget everything you have been told about who started the Crips and why. Most of it is wrong, very wrong. Welcome to the only authorized biography of the undisputed founder of the Crips. Filled with interviews of friends, family and acquaintances from people who knew and grew up with Raymond Lee Washington. Don’t look here for horrific stories of gang violence and crimes committed by gang members; that has been done before. If you are looking for a factual and intuitive look into what made Raymond Washington unique in the mean streets of Los Angeles, this book is for you. Filled with stories and eyewitness accounts of those that knew who the real founder of the Crips gang, find out why his name is still spoken on the streets of Los Angeles with hatred, fear, awe and reverence. Enter the world of Raymond Washington, and see how an apparently unremarkable 15 year old kid in the fall of 1969 would sit down with his best friend and form what would become one of the single most successful, feared and hated gangs in the world.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lup Fun Yau

    Cuz A good book to read and gives a good insight of an opinion of how the Crips were originally formed. Not sure about the Achilles and battle of Troy comparison though

  14. 5 out of 5

    Quanita

    Myth or Reality Fortier lays out the life of Crips founder Raymond Washington. He gives the reader the rumors, the myths, the folklore, and the reality of what happened during Washington's short life. He was loved, hated, and feared all at the same time. Thirty-five years after his death he is still revered (and hated).

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tom mosedale

    Fantastic book Great read, I truly believed tookie was the founding member of the crips, until now that is, if it's inside knowledge of the starting of the crips you are after then this is the book for you.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chavon

    Interesting read. Not particularly ground breaking.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Gwen Lester-Cunningham

    Startling. A real eye-opener. This book should be a must-read for every black boy growing up in the ghetto.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Diolún Ó hUigínn

    The idea for the book is great, as is including Raymond Washington’s family and friends. This book was entertaining but was not executed well. The big marketing point of this book was it’s use of family and friends as sources. That’s great and important that their story is told. However the author often allowed rumors and hearsay go unchallenged. Throughout the book the author also references ‘allhood publications’ which is proven to be entirely mistaken on an important issue within the book. Oth The idea for the book is great, as is including Raymond Washington’s family and friends. This book was entertaining but was not executed well. The big marketing point of this book was it’s use of family and friends as sources. That’s great and important that their story is told. However the author often allowed rumors and hearsay go unchallenged. Throughout the book the author also references ‘allhood publications’ which is proven to be entirely mistaken on an important issue within the book. Other sources are just ridiculous. ‘Listzblogs’ is used as a source in Washington’s popularity. Who are listblogz? Who cares what an anonymous says? Other random websites are cited throughout making the stories unreliable. The author made a point of mentioning again and again that he had been a cop for a long time. I feel he could have made more of an effort to use things like court records in telling the story. He also makes a ridiculous claim that there was never police corruption in LA when this has been well documented. Apart from sources the book becomes very abrupt towards the end shifting from topic to topic. I feel more could have been done to explain the emergence of the Crips in a more coherent manner. All in all it was an okay book. But not great.

  19. 4 out of 5

    H.K. Johnson

    Just a book of conflicting testimonials. In one chapter he's a "righteous leader", in the next he's literally a rapist and a neighborhood bully. In one chapter Crips were formed based on the principles of the Black Panther Party, in the next they're walking into a club and robbing everyone at gun point. I was already aware of the discrepancies in people's beliefs about the gang. This book answers little to nothing aside from maybe some tactics the Crips used against other gangs and naming a few Just a book of conflicting testimonials. In one chapter he's a "righteous leader", in the next he's literally a rapist and a neighborhood bully. In one chapter Crips were formed based on the principles of the Black Panther Party, in the next they're walking into a club and robbing everyone at gun point. I was already aware of the discrepancies in people's beliefs about the gang. This book answers little to nothing aside from maybe some tactics the Crips used against other gangs and naming a few of the original members. The book was also written by an ex cop who heavily relied on Wikipedia as a source. I was better off reading the train ads.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Shaye Gresham

    This book, while interesting on the face, was poorly written and poorly organized. It could have been a much better book had the author not included such a large number of his own personal opinions and inappropriate remarks—including one referring to the theories (on how to distance gang members from their need for that group connection) of a female presenter as a “weird sexual fantasy”—and used the firsthand accounts of the many people he interviewed speak for themselves.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rick St Amant

    Informative history While this work is well researched, the writing is often stodgy and cumbersome. I learned a great deal about Raymond Washington and the formation of the Crips. However, Fortier's narrative style is not always fluid.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Adrian Bell

    Know your history Great with with recollections from family and colleagues of Raymond Washington. So many textures to Raymond that helped shaped one of the biggest movements in modern US history. Salute.

  23. 4 out of 5

    João Sousa

    Good story but writing was very poor and I'm not a native english speaker

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nick Senter

    Interesting, but Not A Lot of Flow Interesting read and topic. I was looking for a little more about how Raymond recruited, led and managed the crew.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kayo

    Full of facts about the Crips. Definitely not a typical read for me, but really interesting.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Debbie J

    I am Raymond Washington is a loosely organized set of anecdotes about the late gang leader, Raymond Washington. His friends, associates, relatives, and enemies--presumed subject matter experts--tell stories which often contradict each other. It’s basically an examination of a handful of persistent rumors and gossip that author Zach Fortier addresses via documentation like birth and death certificates, photographs, and job time sheets. Fortier uses a haphazard, repetitive writing style and the tex I am Raymond Washington is a loosely organized set of anecdotes about the late gang leader, Raymond Washington. His friends, associates, relatives, and enemies--presumed subject matter experts--tell stories which often contradict each other. It’s basically an examination of a handful of persistent rumors and gossip that author Zach Fortier addresses via documentation like birth and death certificates, photographs, and job time sheets. Fortier uses a haphazard, repetitive writing style and the text abounds with grammatical errors and faulty editing. He also includes a surprising number of reference citations from Wikipedia and YouTube. A former law enforcement professional, Fortier seems to have an odd awe of Washington, even going so far as to draw comparisons to the Greek warrior Achilles. Yeah, no. Achilles has enduring mythological status as a war hero befallen by a random weakness. The average person on a street outside of southern CA probably couldn’t identify Washington by name or face, and “heroic” likely isn’t a word commonly used to describe him. I found I am Raymond Washington enlightening despite its shortcomings. Thanks go to BookBub for putting this unexpected work on my reading radar.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Teaguem2005

    I honestly thought this "biography" was going to be about the life of the man himself. The author said he didn't have a point of view but clearly he did. He didn't allow the facts to speak for themselves; instead, he compared Raymond Washington to historical warriors. So much of thos book read like a college research paper. The author injected his opinion, and even worse, himself into the book. Some things missing were the very things I expected to be included. For example, he interviewed the yo I honestly thought this "biography" was going to be about the life of the man himself. The author said he didn't have a point of view but clearly he did. He didn't allow the facts to speak for themselves; instead, he compared Raymond Washington to historical warriors. So much of thos book read like a college research paper. The author injected his opinion, and even worse, himself into the book. Some things missing were the very things I expected to be included. For example, he interviewed the youngest daughter but how many daughters did he have? How many sons? How many Times had he been arrested? How much time had he spent behind bats in totality? What were the complete list of charges? Who represented him at trials? Who were his children's mothers? what was the nature of their relationships? Did he have any girlfriends? So much of the focus was on the name Crips but that's wasn't part of his life. He named the gang so he knew the origin of the name. Book just misses the mark in so many ways.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Crispin Francis

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It was lacking, honestly a lot of the information was taken off documentaries and Youtube videos. There was however some new insights into Raymonds life and the beginnings of the Crips from his brother and family members. Not as much as I had hoped though - the cloud of mystique remains.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alaine

    Interesting topic. Not well written.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kendra Morgan

    Repetitive but Interesting and Informative My biggest takeaway: Society needs its mythology, ethos, tradition, and rights of passage for children to feel a real part of society. Our public school system is no replacement for it.

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