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Publisher's Summary

The crime-infested intersection of West Fayette and Monroe Streets is well-known - and cautiously avoided - by most of Baltimore. But this notorious corner's 24-hour open-air drug market provides the economic fuel for a dying neighborhood. David Simon, an award-winning author and crime reporter, and Edward Burns, a 20-year veteran of the urban drug war, tell the chilling story of this desolate crossroad. 

Through the eyes of one broken family - two drug-addicted adults and their smart, vulnerable 15-year-old son, DeAndre McCollough, Simon and Burns examine the sinister realities of inner cities across the country and unflinchingly assess why law-enforcement policies, moral crusades, and the welfare system have accomplished so little. This extraordinary book is a crucial look at the price of the drug culture and the poignant scenes of hope, caring, and love that astonishingly rise in the midst of a place America has abandoned.

©1998 David Simon and Edward Burns (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"The Corner is an intimate, intense dispatch from the broken heart of urban America. It is impossible to read these pages and not feel stunned at the high price, in human potential, in thwarted aspirations, that simple survival on the streets of West Baltimore demands of its citizens. An important document, as devastating as it is lucid." (Richard Price, author of Clockers)

"The Corner is a remarkable book - very tough, very demanding, very rewarding. Some of it is brutal and all of it is heartbreaking. As a reporter, I can only stand back and admire David Simon and Edward Burns for an amazing piece of reportage. To be there for an entire year, to make sense of random events and a list of characters long enough to make Charles Dickens envious, and to write coherently - it's a breathtaking achievement. And they manage to make West Baltimore as much a character as any of the flesh-and-blood people in the book." (Glenn Frankel, author of Beyond the Promised Land)

"If you want to understand street-corner life in the inner city, you should read The Corner, an amazingly intimate, detailed work of reporting that makes human and vivid a world that outsiders ordinarily are forced to learn about through statistics, sound bites, and stereotypes." (Nicholas Lemann, author of The Promised Land)

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Insightful. A Must Read For Suburban Americans.

Tells a lot of truths and offers insightful analysis that will be a hard challenge for most white Americana to accept about the drug wars. It barely touches on why it is that black Americans are the ones who face most poverty here in America, and while I feel the book could be improved by this inclusion, I also understand most suburban and rural white people's knee-jerk defensive reaction to any type of assertion, regardless of how factual, that they have had advantages that black people have not, and that those advantages are based in the institutions that control the power structure of this country. A hugely insightful read. Empathy is a powerful tool, and books like these can only help build bridges. Fear of empathy and fear of recognizing one's own shortcomings is the only reason I can see that would stop someone from reading this. It's worth the time and emotional energy.

10 people found this helpful

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How Racism really works

give this book to republican friends and ask them how they would fux the corner

6 people found this helpful

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Life is what you make it.

no matter where you visit in the united states, there will always be a corner or a block where people call it HOME. This book gives you a amazing view and description of how it is in the hood. i come from a Hood/ block where is was difficult to grow up some times. i had friend choose the life style still to this day think the same way. its fun when you are younger but some people never got the memo that there is more to life then the gangster Bs. This true story is 32 years old and we still have kids and men dying over blocks and colors like some wild west, in conclusion the book is fantastic and you real feel for DeAndre in the end.

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Timeless, profoundly important!

Wow David Simon! I must read Homicide next, I wish HBO Max had The Corner available currently.

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Should be required reading

One of the most authentic depictions of Baltimore, and detailing of failed American drug policy.

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Great read

Great read! Weaving the the characters into the story was masterfully done. Thoroughly enjoyed this book and have recommended it to others.

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Nothing has changed

Although this book was written in the '90s, it seems very relevant to today. I find myself looking at my city, Atlanta, in a whole different light after listening. My only complaint is the narrator can be a bit hard to hear when he whispers. Look forward to reading "Homicide", the precursor, very soon.

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great great great book

this book has a great and in depth detailed description of the early 90's Baltimore streets I've seen the tv show on HBO back in the days but this book is that and then some and much more great great great book

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great book

only book on audible, that i.ve ever heard, that's written and narrated so perfect that every chapter plays out a movie in my head!

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Excellence

incredible story its was narrated perfectly. I feel that really captured all the characters and their struggles.

1 person found this helpful

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  • T Grist
  • 12-26-20

Amazing. The Wire before The Wire.

In all my time as an Audible listener despite loving many of the books I've listened to this one deserves a special mention.
As a massive fan of The Wire I typed in Ed Burns or David Simon into the search bar on a whim. I was not expecting to find The Wire but was elated to find this. It is wonderfully written and narrated with love and attention to detail.
This book deserves more reviews. It deserves more listeners and if I can encourage one person then I will be happy. You won't be disappointed. It is a masterpiece and I adored it. As a UK white male my chances of exploring Baltimore in the streets and corners written about here and staying alive are slim but this is as good as being there. Probably better because I don't have to live that way. I was an alcoholic for a long time so I have addiction in my genes. I'd have died young if I was born there. I nearly died in Cornwall England 17 years ago. Get this and enjoy x Thanks to David and Ed and the narrator. Stars every one.

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  • Danny
  • 11-07-20

best narrator

best narrator I've ever heard, honestly brilliant. really enjoyed the story as well. highly recommend

2 people found this helpful

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  • g redding
  • 06-10-22

Exceptional journalism

Exceptional journalism and an honest view of how drugs affect society and how individuals and groups react to it. Very well narrated.

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  • Thomas John Carlisle
  • 06-09-22

Outstanding and unmissable

An absolutely incredible piece of work, a kind of slow motion tragedy: profound, thoughtful, emotionally devastating, beautifully read. What Simon and Burns have crafted here is simply one of the greatest pieces of reportage ever, and it deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Steinbeck's THE GRAPES OF WRATH. These are deep, rich true stories, told with empathy and warmth, and the kind of literary verve that's lacking in a lot of modern non-fiction. I can't recommend it enough: it's honestly one of the best audiobooks I've ever had the pleasure to listen to.

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  • Marc P.
  • 05-12-22

Quite simply a masterpiece

A friend recommended me this book and I decided to listen to the audio book. I’m so glad I did, not only is the story and writing so compelling, the performance is a total masterclass in how to make something grab you and not let go. Heartbreaking and compelling in equal measure with a just enough hope for what seems like a lost cause.

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  • Eamon
  • 04-21-22

Fantastic

A brilliant story

Well read and written and very gripping

I d highly recommend it

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-02-21

Great audiobook

I read this book 10 years ago after watching the wire, being hungry for more stories about Baltimore. Very good audio book well read by the narrator. Great insight to a life that seems a long away from mine.