The Torture Machine: Racism and Police Violence in Chicago

Flint Taylor (Author)

Product Details

$27.00  $24.84
Haymarket Books
Publish Date
March 19, 2019
6.1 X 1.6 X 9.1 inches | 2.1 pounds

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About the Author

Flint Taylor is a founding partner of the People's Law Office in Chicago. He was one of the lawyers who represented the families of slain Chicago Black Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in the landmark civil rights case against the Chicago police, the Cook County state's attorney, and the FBI's COINTELPRO agents. For more than thirty years he has represented numerous survivors of Chicago police torture in criminal and civil cases, as well as in seeking reparations. He was also co-counsel in the civil rights case brought by the victims of KKK and Nazi terror in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1979. He is still actively fighting against, and writing about, systemic police violence and racial injustice as a senior partner at the PLO, which will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary in August 2019.


"If it was not for Flint Taylor I would still be languishing in prison. He brought hope to a hopeless place." --Darrell Cannon, Torture survivor

"It is impossible to fully understand the continuing challenges created by unjustifiable police violence against black and brown people without appreciating the historical backdrop that sustains this national crisis. Flint Taylor's powerful new book, informed by his decades as one of the most effective advocates addressing these issues, is a must read." --Bryan Stevenson, best-selling author of Just Mercy

"Taylor's The Torture Machine is a sad but necessary reminder of how citizens can be victimized by those who are supposed to protect them and how that abuse can poison entire neighborhoods. But it is also a story of a hard-won hope that resulted in some degree of justice for victims and an effort to remind children of what once happened in the hope that it won't be repeated. The book is a chronicle of tenacity and hope alongside brutality and injustice, and in that way it is a profoundly Chicago story." --Psychology Today

"[A] searing memoir... essential reading for all who care about this country--past and future." --Heather Ann Thompson, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Blood in the Water

"Incredible and devastating." --Jeremy Scahill

"If you want to understand what actually happened to those Jon Burge tortured read this book. " --Anthony Holmes, Torture survivor

"[Torture Machine] is a riveting account...a forensic analysis of decades of collusion between judges, politicians, prosecutors and the police to engage in systemic human rights violations." --Juan Gonzalez

"[A] harrowing tale...Taylor illuminates in graphic detail the scars caused by some of the worst elements of law enforcement in a city perpetually beset by violence." --Kirkus

"Harrowing...Taylor writes with conviction and empathy." --Publishers Weekly

"[A] compelling book...." -- Booklist, Starred Review

"This book is a powerful testament to their courage and determination and is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand what can happen when those in power condone violations of civil and constitutional rights for political expediency." --Mary E. Howell, Civil Rights Attorney

"A stunning, sweeping history of police violence in Chicago, and Flint Taylor's lifelong pursuit of racial justice. Quite literally the work of a lifetime." --Alison Flowers, Author of Exoneree Diaries: The Fight for Innocence, Independence, and Identity

"[A]n indispensable and searing account of the barbarous regime of policing under Jon Burge, and the ongoing fight for justice." --Martha Biondi, author of To Stand and Fight. James Thindwa, Labor Activist and Board Member, In These Times.

"[A]n unsparing dissection of foundational racism in the criminal justice system ... It could not be more timely." --Jaime Kalven, Investigative Reporter, Executive Director, Invisible Institute

"Each victim's case is a fascinating story in itself while the totality of the lawyers' efforts fighting a resistant establishment is staggering." --The Observer