Posts Tagged ‘Fox Butterfield’

‘In My Father’s House’ by Fox Butterfield

September 12th, 2018

WHO: Fox Butterfield

A New View of How Crime Runs in the Family

WHEN: Published by Knopf October 10, 2018

WHERE: Author tour to Boston, Los Angeles, New York, Portland, San Francisco, and Washington DC.

WHY: “An outstanding book of sociology and criminology.
“Based on an extraordinary research effort that combined years of building trust with outlaws as well as searching law enforcement records, longtime New York Times reporter and bureau chief Butterfield located at least 60 members of the extended Bogle family who have been arrested and sentenced beginning in the early 1920s. Although 60 may seem like an extraordinarily large number, ‘some oddity out of Ripley’s Believe It or Not,’ the author notes that roughly five percent of families account for approximately half of all crime in the United States.
“While fascinated with the Bogles, Butterfield never loses sight of a significant question: Why is the intergenerational transmission of violence so powerful in countless specific families? Though the Bogles don’t necessarily present a simple answer to the author’s inquiry, he learned that numerous Bogle fathers and mothers encouraged their children to choose a life of crime, usually at the expense of education. Being sent to prison was viewed by Bogle family members as a rite of passage, even an honor. Certainly for some Bogle crime careerists, prison served as a school for honing skills to become more skilled robbers and burglars.
“Near the end of the book, the author focuses on Ashley, the first Bogle to attend college. How Ashley broke free from a career of crime is such a remarkable saga that it reads like fiction. However, Butterfield provides persuasive documentation about his subjects and also delivers an epilogue that is at least as unexpected.”

“A spellbinding book, brilliant and bone-chilling.
In My Father’s House will change the way we look at what makes a criminal.”

–Linda Fairstein

“At once searing and poignant. Whether conservative or liberal, your assumptions about our criminal justice system will be shaken when you read this book.”
–Raymond Bonner

. . . . .


The Oregon State Penitentiary sits incongruously in the middle of Salem, the state capital, next to a large park with fields for children’s soccer games and rows of residential streets. Armed guards patrol the twenty-five-foot-high concrete walls of the maximum security prison. When the penitentiary was first constructed in 1851, Oregon was not yet a state and Salem had only a handful of settlers who had trekked on foot over the Oregon Trail, so as the population of Salem increased, the city grew around the prison, making it a familiar sight. The neighborhood came to be known as Felony Flats.

Photo by Rooster BogleFor Bobby Bogle, who had been locked up most of the time since childhood, the location of the penitentiary seemed an apt metaphor for his life. For him and his brothers, prison and life ran together. Sitting on the steel bunk in his cell and thinking back on his childhood, Bobby could only remember one Christmas when his father gave him a present—a heavy metal wrench in a plain brown paper bag presented with no explanation. Bobby was only four years old at the time and for a moment was puzzled by the gift. But he knew from listening to excited conversations around the dinner table that his father, known to everyone by the nickname Rooster, had served hard time in a Texas prison for burglary and took pride in his criminal record. So Bobby figured his father had given him a burglar’s tool. Before dawn on Christmas day he snuck out of the house with his older brother and they broke into the V & V Market, the little grocery store in the former migrant farm workers camp where they lived on the edge of Salem. In the back of the store there were stacks of Coca-Cola bottles locked in a caged-in area. The wrench was big for Bobby’s small hands, so he worked awkwardly as he used his present to break open the lock on the cage. Then the boys carried home their sodas for a Christmas celebration.

Jacket photo

Knopf. With 8 pages of photos.
265 pages. $26.95 ISBN 978-1-4000-4102-2

Media Resources:
About the book and author | Author tour | Download the jacket | Download the author photo

To interview the author, contact:
Jess Purcell | 212-572-2082 |