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Publisher's Summary

The crime-infested intersection of West Fayette and Monroe Streets is well-known - and cautiously avoided - by most of Baltimore. But this notorious corner's 24-hour open-air drug market provides the economic fuel for a dying neighborhood. David Simon, an award-winning author and crime reporter, and Edward Burns, a 20-year veteran of the urban drug war, tell the chilling story of this desolate crossroad. 

Through the eyes of one broken family - two drug-addicted adults and their smart, vulnerable 15-year-old son, DeAndre McCollough, Simon and Burns examine the sinister realities of inner cities across the country and unflinchingly assess why law-enforcement policies, moral crusades, and the welfare system have accomplished so little. This extraordinary book is a crucial look at the price of the drug culture and the poignant scenes of hope, caring, and love that astonishingly rise in the midst of a place America has abandoned.

©1998 David Simon and Edward Burns (P)2020 Random House Audio

What the critics say

"The Corner is an intimate, intense dispatch from the broken heart of urban America. It is impossible to read these pages and not feel stunned at the high price, in human potential, in thwarted aspirations, that simple survival on the streets of West Baltimore demands of its citizens. An important document, as devastating as it is lucid." (Richard Price, author of Clockers)

"The Corner is a remarkable book - very tough, very demanding, very rewarding. Some of it is brutal and all of it is heartbreaking. As a reporter, I can only stand back and admire David Simon and Edward Burns for an amazing piece of reportage. To be there for an entire year, to make sense of random events and a list of characters long enough to make Charles Dickens envious, and to write coherently - it's a breathtaking achievement. And they manage to make West Baltimore as much a character as any of the flesh-and-blood people in the book." (Glenn Frankel, author of Beyond the Promised Land)

"If you want to understand street-corner life in the inner city, you should read The Corner, an amazingly intimate, detailed work of reporting that makes human and vivid a world that outsiders ordinarily are forced to learn about through statistics, sound bites, and stereotypes." (Nicholas Lemann, author of The Promised Land)

What listeners say about The Corner

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  • WitchCrafter
  • 2021-06-01

Insightful. A Must Read For Suburban Americans.

Tells a lot of truths and offers insightful analysis that will be a hard challenge for most white Americana to accept about the drug wars. It barely touches on why it is that black Americans are the ones who face most poverty here in America, and while I feel the book could be improved by this inclusion, I also understand most suburban and rural white people's knee-jerk defensive reaction to any type of assertion, regardless of how factual, that they have had advantages that black people have not, and that those advantages are based in the institutions that control the power structure of this country. A hugely insightful read. Empathy is a powerful tool, and books like these can only help build bridges. Fear of empathy and fear of recognizing one's own shortcomings is the only reason I can see that would stop someone from reading this. It's worth the time and emotional energy.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2021-03-15

Life is what you make it.

no matter where you visit in the united states, there will always be a corner or a block where people call it HOME. This book gives you a amazing view and description of how it is in the hood. i come from a Hood/ block where is was difficult to grow up some times. i had friend choose the life style still to this day think the same way. its fun when you are younger but some people never got the memo that there is more to life then the gangster Bs. This true story is 32 years old and we still have kids and men dying over blocks and colors like some wild west, in conclusion the book is fantastic and you real feel for DeAndre in the end.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-12-04

Should be required reading

One of the most authentic depictions of Baltimore, and detailing of failed American drug policy.

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  • elliot grossman
  • 2021-04-13

How Racism really works

give this book to republican friends and ask them how they would fux the corner

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  • Jasmine Sorenson
  • 2021-01-29

Timeless, profoundly important!

Wow David Simon! I must read Homicide next, I wish HBO Max had The Corner available currently.

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  • Ben E.
  • 2020-12-12

Nothing has changed

Although this book was written in the '90s, it seems very relevant to today. I find myself looking at my city, Atlanta, in a whole different light after listening. My only complaint is the narrator can be a bit hard to hear when he whispers. Look forward to reading "Homicide", the precursor, very soon.