Richard Atkinson, with Joe Fiorito. Exile (IPG, dist.), $24.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-55096-674-9

Richard Atkinson, with Joe Fiorito. Exile (IPG, dist.), $24.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-55096-674-9

"Atkinson’s memoir is as riveting as true crime gets. He’s a veteran of gangland Toronto and as gifted as a story-teller as he was a street hustler. Working with journalist Fiorito, he recounts all the bloody brawls and fast scores of Hogtown’s gritty streets in the 1960s,’70s, and ’80s. Atkinson’s book describes an outlaw’s life and is also a rich depiction of Toronto’s history; readers learn, for example, that the now-hip Kensington Market neighborhood was once a multiethnic enclave where livestock was butchered on the sidewalks. It is also a reckoning of the city’s racist sins. Atkinson has mixed black, white, and First Nations heritage; his family had to cope with the prevalent prejudice of the day, and Ricky was particularly abused by police: “Black rage was not just an American thing... We took up their chant in Toronto—the cops were pigs. They were racist oppressors and imperialists.” Through four decades, Atkinson mixes it up with Black Power radicals, forms the Dirty Tricks Gang, commits a string of larcenies, dodges bullets, and takes multiple trips to prison before leaving the criminal life in his later years. Though he takes responsibility for his own actions, Atkinson makes the convincing connection between societal prejudice and crime in minority communities. It’s a revelatory and fascinating story told from a rare perspective." - Publishers Weekly, July 2017

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