Over the span of his 62 years, James has read (by his own estimate) more than 1,000 books on the subject of crime and spent countless hours trying to figure out what they really mean; he’s tried to understand both the nature of the criminal mind and the meaning of society’s relationship with acts of the unspeakable. Now, after decades of unconscious research, James has written Popular Crime: Reflections on the Celebration of Violence. It’s a fascinating, comprehensive, deeply strange book (it dissects crime literature as much as it dissects crime, sometimes seeming like the most intense 10th grade book report the world has ever seen). I spoke with James about Popular Crime on the third-floor landing of Manhattan’s Le Parker Meridien Hotel; our conversation was slow at the onset, but evolved into an unexpected meditation on the future of society.
– from “Grantland”
Dear Chuck Klosterman,
How can you interview Bill James about his new book about crime and not ask him what he thinks about how American society should deal with black criminality? Surely James has seen the data and noticed the statistical correlations — you wonder if he put the proverbial two and two together?