cover image The Year of Dangerous Days: Riots, Refugees and Cocaine in Miami 1980

The Year of Dangerous Days: Riots, Refugees and Cocaine in Miami 1980

Nicholas Griffin. 37 Ink, , $26.99 ISBN 978-1-5011-9102-2

In this cinematic chronicle, journalist Griffin (Ping Pong Diplomacy) examines how an influx of immigrants, violent race riots, and a cocaine epidemic all collided in Miami in 1980 and led to the radical transformation of the city. Griffin explores these developments through the experiences of Miami Herald reporter Edna Buchanan, who broke the story of the police killing of African-American insurance salesman Arthur McDuffie; homicide bureau captain Marshall Frank, who investigated McDuffie’s death while confronting a surging murder rate brought on by cocaine trafficking; and pro-business, socially liberal mayor Maurice Ferré. These three are on the front lines as the acquittal of McDuffie’s killers sparks one of 20th–century America’s worst race riots, the Mariel boatlift brings thousands of Cuban refugees to Miami’s shores, and the $7 billion cocaine trade “corrupt[s] everyone from real estate brokers and developers to lawyers, car dealers and detectives.” Griffin lucidly describes drug cartel operations, the history of Miami’s racial tensions, and investigations that lead to the arrest of the city’s biggest money launderer and a crackdown on corrupt banks. Out of this tumultuous year, Griffin contends, Miami emerged a stronger, more cosmopolitan city with a broader economic base. This vivid and well-documented urban history offers hope that crisis can bring about lasting change. Agent: Becky Sweren, Aevitas Creative Management. (July)