Reviews of Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America

“For his debut effort, Our Enemies in Blue, an indictment of the police system in America, Kristian Williams did his homework. His analysis of our modern capitalist state’s enforcement contingency is quite thorough, ranging back to colonial times and including historical influences such as those of London’s varying constabulary. In the spirit of Howard Zinn’s similarly leftist history critique A People’s History of the United States, Williams zeroes in on the questionable behaviors of police officers, including their frightening approach to both the African American population and to a lesser degree, various labor movements.” — Lance Chess, in the Portland Mercury, April 7, 2005.

Our Enemies in Blue (Soft Skull 2004) is a sweeping, vitriolic work of scholarship. As studied as it is incendiary. . . , [the book] urges his readers to critically re-assess the discourse that surrounds the institution of police: their purported role in society, patterns and trends in police brutality, the historical use of police against organized labor, and so on. Our Enemies in Blue is a comprehensive, controversial history of policing; as well it is a theory-meets-practice study of power relations and models of resistance” — Justin Taylor, in Punk Planet, September/October 2005.

“Seldom does one come across a book so right on target as this one. Clearly framed, drawing upon a wealth of data, straightforwardly presented and reaching uncomfortable but nonetheless unassailable conclusions on every point, Our Enemies in Blue is imperative reading for anyone in the least concerned by the implications attending the rampant growth of police power and violence in the United States.” — Ward Churchill

“Kristian Williams has given us a very fine book, a well-researched, historically grounded and mordant critique of American policing past and present.” — Christian Parenti

Our Enemies in Blue is a must read for anyone considering a career in law enforcement, and should become mandatory reading for all police academy students.” — Damon Woodcock, Portland Police Bureau (retired)

“The first thing you should know is that this is no anti-cop hippie rant. This book is a well-constructed and thorough-as-hell study about police brutality and their abuse of power and control. Williams delves into almost every realm of police corruption.” — Wayne Chinsang in Tastes Like Chicken, January 2005.

additional reviews:

“Our Enemies.” Emily-Jane Dawson. Duck Duck Book. December 12, 2004.

“The Centrality of State Violence: A Review Essay.” Steven Sherman. State of Nature. Summer 2006.

“Outside the Comfort Zone.” Gary G. Smith. Gary G. Smith, Crime Prevention Practitioner. October 18, 2007.

Our Enemies in Blue: ‘Die Beschützer schützen’? [“The Protectors ‘Protect’?].” Von V. CTRL. April 9, 2010.

“Review: Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America.” Broken Fence. October 11, 2010.

Reviews of American Methods: Torture and the Logic of Domination

“Kristian Williams has done it again. As in his previous work, Enemies in Blue (2004), Williams brings a wealth of research to bear on his thinking, his analysis, and his writing. Ever the iconoclast, Williams doesn’t mind breaking idols, especially the stone gods erected to greed, avarice, and capitalist accumulation, which allows us to wreak invisible violence all around the globe. . . . Williams is sure to enrage.” — Mumia Abu-Jamal

“Kristian Williams peels away the mythic veneer of American Innocence with an eloquence, power, and precision that stands largely unrivaled.” — Ward Churchill

“Williams’s thorough research and documentation of the history of these techniques, and their arrival in Guantanamo, Afghanistan, and finally Abu Ghraib, makes for disturbing reading. Yet the information is crucial to any serious understanding of the issues facing our country today.” — Jennifer Harbury in Fellowship, Fall 2006

American Methods cogently gives the reader evidence of how the U.S. uses torture to control society and to protect U.S. hegemony, compelling us to rethink power and to question the terror enacted in the name of ‘democracy.'” — Meghana Nayak in Colorlines, July-August 2006

American Methods shines an unmediated light on this country’s use of torture as an essential component of social control, both at home and abroad. Williams’s exhaustive analysis exposes a history of routine brutality in US police, military, and prison interrogation practices. . . . An important, thoroughly well-researched and superbly written critique.” — Tara Herivel

“Williams goes beyond most treatments of human rights and torture to show conclusively how the domestic and international use of force are connected in a continuum of domination and dehumanization, one feeding the other.” — Harry Newman in Clamor, Fall 2006.

“Williams’ book is exceptional. Someone had to confront the horror of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, or the local police precinct; Williams took up the challenge and answered it well.” — Dan Horowitz de Garcia in Left Turn, January/February 2007.

“The book covers everything from lynchings, Abu Ghraib, the School of The Americas, prison rape, extraordinary rendition, the Humbolt Five, and the Bush administration’s and DOJ’s role in authorizing, extending, and transporting torture, panning out to greater state and cultural indictments and conclusions about the centrality of rape, racism and conquest, and their normalization and systematization by our country. If it all sounds too ambitious to achieve in a 250 page book, perhaps it is… but there are tons of footnotes, and even more references, and I think the book an excellent starting point to question what being American is all about.”
— “Books to Read” Cuter than Jesus. June 8, 2009.

“Sometimes I read a book or hear a news story, and I think to myself, why aren’t people freaking out about this? I mean, American Methods conclusively and thoroughly documents how the U.S. uses torture, that its methods are illegal, and that the U.S. doesn’t care what the world thinks. . . . We should be up in arms!!” — Jen Angel, in Aid & Abet, May 2, 2007.

Reviews of Hurt: Notes on Torture in a Modern Democracy

“One will not be able to help but react in accord or discord or at least question along with the arguments raised. . . . Hurt is a good publication that not only introduces but invites the reader to a debate on torture and to imagine alternatives.” — Sarah Alibabaie, Portland Book Review, March 28, 2013.

“these writings are the result of well-reasoned and researched thinking and go a long way in educating the reader on the causes and underlying factors of torture in the 21st century.” — Chris Auman,, August 14, 2012.

Reviews of Confrontations: Selected Journalism

“The author focuses on some of my favorite ideas, like politics being based on conflict, not everyone working together for the greater good, and that the legal system more often than not will bend towards politicized ends. . . . [T]his pamphlet would be a good addition to a radical library and to help one understand the state’s actions and reactions.” — Jeff Mason, in Maximum Rocknroll, March 2008.

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