M. Rutledge McCall. Ebooks on theNet (www.ebooksonthe.net) $22.50 (288p)
How could a white man expect to be welcomed into the explosive world of South Central L.A.? It took investigative journalist McCall, himself a former juvenile delinquent, the better part of a year to be accepted by a handful of G's (gangsters) in the ghetto, and once he found himself on the inside, he was in all the way: running with the Blood Stone Pirus gang, drinking and doing drugs, "strapping down" and exchanging gunfire with rival gangs for a year and a half. His new compadres didn't know that McCall was tape-recording hundreds of conversations, and in the end, when he told them, it didn't matter. In a style as riveting as it is raw, McCall reveals his respect for the brotherhood and for what he categorizes as the innate decency of so many gangsters who just want to protect their own and survive. He describes police officers full of fear, hatred and, in some cases, tainted by corruption. McCall has appeared on such shows as Larry King Live and NBC's Today to inform Americans of a place most would rather pretend doesn't exist. Today, he produces several streaming internet shows with some of the people he met in South Central, and he continues to hold those friendships in the highest esteem.