Monster: The Autobiography of an LA Gang Member – Sanyika Shakur a.k.a. Monster Kody Scott

Monster:Autobiography of an  LA Gang Member – Sanyika Shakur a.k.a. Monster Kody Scott


Written in solitary confinement, Kody Scott’s memoir of sixteen years as a gangbanger in Los Angeles was a searing best-seller and became a classic, published in ten languages, with more than 300,000 copies in print in the United States alone. After pumping eight blasts from a sawed-off shotgun at a group of rival gang members, twelve-year-old Kody Scott was initiated into the L.A. gang the Crips. He quickly matured into one of the most formidable Crip combat soldiers, earning the name �Monster” for committing acts of brutality and violence that repulsed even his fellow gang members. When the inevitable jail term confined him to a maximum-security cell, a complete political and personal transformation followed: from Monster to Sanyika Shakur, black nationalist, member of the New Afrikan Independence Movement, and crusader against the causes of gangsterism. In a document that has been compared to The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Eldridge Cleaver’s Soul on Ice, Shakur makes palpable the despair and decay of America’s inner cities and gives eloquent voice to one aspect of the black ghetto experience today.

My Thoughts

This is a book I had to read for my Criminal Careers class, as part of my Criminology program. Would I actively choose to read this book? No. Would I recommend it to others? Probably not. Did I learn anything from it? Hell yes. I learned a great deal about the gang mentality, reasons for joining, reasons for leaving, and everything in between. This is not my area of interest in terms of criminology. However, I am very glad I read this book. It opened my eyes to how insane everything in South Central LA was – and, in essence, still is – in terms of the wars between the Crips and the Bloods. There are also wars going on between various sets within their own gang. Gang-banging takes on a very military-like mentality – you’re either in, or you’re out; you’re a soldier, or a civilian. This is terminology often used throughout the book.

Through many years of gang-banging, we see Monster Kody Scott begin to question everything around him. The gang life had been all he’d known for so long. It was his life-blood, his sense of security. Then, all that changes – some may say for the better, others may disagree. This book is absolutely raw – no holds barred, no stone left unturned. There are many aspects I could have gone without known. However, now I am better educated on the subject matter. There is no such thing as too much education.


~ by Aubrey Smith on September 22, 2013.

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