2021 NPR Books We Love
"A smart, well-documented book about a group of people determined to hold the powerful to account."—Michael Schaub, Book Critic
How Latino activists brought down powerful Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Journalists Terry Greene Sterling and Jude Joffe-Block spent years chronicling the human consequences of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s relentless immigration enforcement in Maricopa County, Arizona. In Driving While Brown, they tell the tale of two opposing movements that redefined Arizona’s political landscape—the restrictionist cause embraced by Arpaio and the Latino-led resistance that rose up against it.
The story follows Arpaio, his supporters, and his adversaries, including Lydia Guzman, who gathered evidence for a racial-profiling lawsuit that took surprising turns. Guzman joined a coalition determined to stop Arpaio, reform unconstitutional policing, and fight for Latino civil rights. Driving While Brown details Arpaio's transformation—from "America’s Toughest Sheriff," who forced inmates to wear pink underwear, into the nation’s most feared immigration enforcer who ended up receiving President Donald Trump’s first pardon. The authors immerse readers in the lives of people on both sides of the battle and uncover the deep roots of the Trump administration's immigration policies.
The result of tireless investigative reporting, this powerful book provides critical insights into effective resistance to institutionalized racism and the community organizing that helped transform Arizona from a conservative stronghold into a battleground state.