Books: Watts: The Model

RIVERS OF BLOOD, YEARS OF DARKNESS by Robert Conot. 497 pages. Banfam. 95¢.

Watts, 1965, was the precursor and model for the race riots of 1967. In the sunny, sullen ghetto on Los Angeles' southeast side, all the elements of racial violence were present: rat-ridden housing, usurious white shopkeepers, broken black families, humiliating welfare-office routines, tough cops, kids with a yen to loot and lash out, and the random spark of a clumsy arrest. In this meticulously researched reconstruction, Robert Conot, 38, a Los Angeles newspaperman and novelist, shows how all those elements combined to produce six days of madness.

Marquette Frye, the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!