In My Father's House by Fox Butterfield

In My Father's House

Fox Butterfield

With empathic insight and profound knowledge of criminology, Fox Butterfield offers us both the indelible tale of one family’s transgressions, and an entirely new way to understand crime in America.

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From the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist: a pathbreaking examination of our huge crime and incarceration problem that looks at the influence of the family--specifically one Oregon family with a generations-long legacy of lawlessness.

The United States currently holds the distinction of housing nearly one-quarter of the world's prison population. But our reliance on mass incarceration, Fox Butterfield argues, misses the intractable reality: As few as 5 percent of families account for half of all crime, and only 10 percent account for two-thirds. In introducing us to the Bogle family, the author invites us to understand crime in this eye-opening new light. He chronicles the malignant legacy of criminality passed from parents to children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. Examining the long history of the Bogles, a white family, Butterfield offers a revelatory look at criminality that forces us to disentangle race from our ideas about crime and, in doing so, strikes at the heart of our deepest stereotypes. And he makes clear how these new insights are leading to fundamentally different efforts at reform. With his empathic insight and profound knowledge of criminology, Butterfield offers us both the indelible tale of one family's transgressions and tribulations, and an entirely new way to understand crime in America.

Advance Galley Reviews

A surprisingly powerful lead. I definitely didn't expect to enjoy the read as much as I did. It definitely has some interesting insight onto how upbringing can shape people's future. 4 stars.

This was a really well thought how novel on how our environment and upbringing shape who we are and the choices we make. The author follows one family through multiple generations to show how a life of crime can become ingrained in a child. I was fascinated reading all the different family members stories. This is an important read because it shows so clearly how our society is falling short on truly helping before it gets too late. One of the things that sticks out the most to me is how much cheaper intervention programs are compared to the cost of locking someone up. Overall, this is a really well written and meticulously researched novel that I think everyone should read.

This was a powerful read. It truly shows how the environment you grow up in can affect your entire life for better or worse. In this nonfiction piece, Butterfield follows the Bogle family and shares their "curse." One couple's choice of lifestyle and parenting led for generation after generation to end up in prison. I could not believe that over 60 people in one family ended up in a life of crime. Butterfield had a great balance between narrative and research studies to back up his discoveries. I found his points very compelling and felt the hopelessness many young Bogles must have felt. It was interesting to learn how childhood events, instability, mental health, etc. play a combined role in forming a criminal. I think this is an important book to read because it challenges and disproves prior thoughts on how race, "criminal genes" and other factors play a role in creating a criminal. It demonstrates how our current correctional system and how costly and ineffective it is, especially for the Bogle family. I enjoyed learning about potential solutions and how the trial studies have gone so far. This book will make you think hard, it will startle you, and it will give you hope that this criminal cycle can be broken.

This book focuses on the Bogle family and their multi-generational involvement in crime. It puts a different face on crime for the reader and challenges some of your beliefs, at least it did for me. Definitely a thought provoking read.

This is a comprehensive meditation on the nature of crime and how families pass it down through generations, as well as the futility of the criminal justice system in many cases -- instead of rehabilitating, in may cases for these people with skewed values, it is like college -- they learn how to be better criminals, network, obtain status, etc. More information towards solutions such as how to separate those who are truly interested in rehabilitation, how the "patient 0" people become criminals without that upbringing, and more cases like Tammy where people raised with criminal values go straight. Many examples where the judicial system forces bad decisions or limits the abilities of those involved to find solutions, how to set standards for removing children from families that are truly determined to flaunt society's norms, and other solutions would be great. That being said, this is a very interesting perspective on how criminality has evolved -- both over the history of the US and also within families, and a clear illustration of things that should be apparent but aren't discussed -- but need to be addressed if we are to break these cycles of crime. It's very smart to look beyond socioeconomic status and race, because clearly there are both criminals and noncriminals who come from every race and circumstance -- how can we better address the factors that make people see crime as a possible choice.

This book left me with an internal conflict - I can't decide if I'm hopeful or discouraged by what I've learned about the Bogle family. Probably a little bit of both.

In My Father’s House by Fox Butterfield follows the exploits of the Bogle Crime Family. No, not talking the mafia here, just an average family with a high predilection for crime. Over generations more than 60 extended family members have done time behind bars and for many of them it just seems normal behavior. It is often said that truth is stranger than fiction and the story of the Bogle family certainly fits that saying. And while an unbelievably sad story, is at times laugh-out-loud amusing. A father meeting his teenage son for the first time when they are locked-up in the same Oregon prison. Dad taking his boys fishing and when driving by the state pen, telling them they would be in there some day. And the boys being impressed by it! While the story of the Bogle family seems unfathomable, it is not only true but author Fox Butterworth points out that it is not all that uncommon. “Crime Families” such as the Bogle family account for a good portion of criminal activity overall. The years of research and reporting that went into the writing of In My Father’s House results in a work that is very readable and thought provoking. A book well worth your time. A book that should be added to required reading lists in college sociology and criminology courses. Thank you to First To Read for providing an advance copy of In My Father’s House.

This was an interesting book about how families perpetuate crime within the cultures of their families. It was at times very disturbing but also fascinating as you get a glimpse into a family with severely twisted priorities. It certainly made me very grateful to have had the upbringing I did and make me worry for children who are raised to believe crime is a good thing. Thank you to the author for opening our eyes to this startling trend that has had surprisingly little research conducted on it.

This is a fascinating look at how crime "travels" through families, providing a close look at one family throughout several generations, over 60 members of which ended up in jail/prison at one time or another. It is clear that Butterfield was passionate about his topic and meticulously researched and investigated the Bogle family (detailed notes and information about his sources are provided in the book). The first half provides a broad overview of the early Bogles, crime, and the legal/justice system, while the second half gives us a closer look into the lives and crimes of various members of the family. The book also asks a lot of important questions, ultimately without answering them: why is our justice system so broken? Why do so many people "slip through the cracks"? How much effect does mental health have on crime/criminality? How can we stop the family tradition of crime? It was a very eye opening book for me, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in true crime or criminal justice studies, heartbreaking though it is.

This was a shocking and sad chronology of a family with more than 60 members (over 4 generations) who've been sent to jail, sent to prison, and/or put on probation or parole. While the book touches somewhat on the nature vs. nurture debate and poses a lot of thought-provoking questions about genetics, there's not much scientific fact presented to answer them - just a lot of anecdotal "evidence" based on this one family. I had hoped for more. Besides that, this book was more an indictment of our criminal justice system's obvious and long-running failures: the revolving door of crime-court-prison-crime-court-prison that most of the Bogles have experienced for their entire lives, with no other real forms of intervention or attempts at rehabilitation. We need some fresh ideas on how to stop these cycles. This book, the story of the Bogle family, and our society, is all pretty depressing.

Butterfield's prologue alone grabs your attention with the statistics on the inmate population in the United States prison system:  - "as little as 5 percent of families account for half of all crime"  - "10 percent of families account for two-thirds of all crime"  - "roughly half of the 2.3 million Americans in jail or prison have a father, mother or other close family member, like a brother, sister or uncle, who has previously been incarcerated" What follows is Butterfield's findings after ten years of research on one of those families, the Bogles, who have had sixty family members "who have been sentenced to either prison, jail or a juvenile reformatory, or placed on probation or parole". And those are only the ones he was able to find documentation for.  Butterfield traces the roots of the Bogle family and interviews two Bogle brothers currently, and proudly, incarcerated. Their pride in following in their father's footsteps is amazing and yet also sad. A powerful testimony to nature and nurture together, you will find yourself sometimes shocked but often understanding of the path that this family has followed through time.

"Our reliance on mass incarceration, Fox Butterfield argues, misses the intractable reality: As few as 5 percent of families account for half of all crime, and only 10 percent account for two-thirds." Butterfield introduces the reader to the Bogle family, and chronicles the four generations of criminal activity within the family. Through a balance of criminology research and data collected from the Bogles, Butterfield denounces racial stereotypes as he explores this white family and their history with the law. This carefully written novel explores the question of whether or not crime is inherited or siloed from person to person. Told in the form of a narrative, Butterfield does an expert job of building character, suspense, and support that like familial values, crime can be taught.  This was a fascinating and heart-wrenching novel. The generations of crime the Bogle family has participated in is unbelievable, and the pride they take in their criminal activity is mind-boggling. This novel really begs the reader to question "nature vs. nurture" and what impact genetics and family play on a child's development. My heart wanted to break as Rooster emotionally abused his children, and then it broke all over again when I read about how their adult lives led them straight to prison. I never really thought about the fact our prison system could be comprised of multiple family members, causing them to make up a large percentage of inmates, but after reading this novel, it makes sad sense. This is a novel that I am happy I read because it educated me in a topic that I was very unfamiliar with.

Using that data of 10% of families account for 2/3 of all crime as a jumping off point, Butterfield follows the (white) Bogle family from their origins in Texas to their move to Oregon. Overall, 60 members of this family have been incarcerated. Drawing on the ideas of learned behavior, the choices and crimes of various family members are described along with some interviews including each individual’s own words. I thought this was a great idea for a book and an interesting thing that learned behavior can be positive or negative. I found the second half of the book, wherein several family members tell their own stories, fascinating. However, the first half was a bit bland. I also would have liked to see a little more focus on the psychological theory and the interplay of mental illness and learned criminal behavior, which was not discussed until the second half. An interesting book overall, but ultimately I wanted more.

Thank you to Penguin Random House and First to Read for the Advance Galley un exchange for an honest and unbiased review. My Father's House by Fox Butterfield is the non-fiction story of the Bogle family. The family has had 60 members incarcerated. Butterfield uses interviews with family members and judges along with historical records and news to tell the heart breaking story of a family drawn to crime. The goal of the book is to investigate what link caused this family to have this legacy. The book reads as part textbook and part crime story. The author's storytelling keeps it from getting dry. These real people live their lives fully fleshed out. It is both captivating and heart breaking.

A detailed book on the Bogle family and its descendants in the study of criminology. Thank you to First to Read for the chance to read this book.

My Father’s House by Fox Butterfield follows the criminal history of the Bogle Family who have had 60 of their family members incarcerated. Is there a “Crime” gene? Are they criminals because of a mental illness thread running throughout their family? Or is it solely their environment that leads them to a life of crime? Backed by many interviews of the Bogle Family and the presiding Judge for many of the cases, I don’t think Butterfield could have written a more interesting story, although it becomes a bit depressing after a while. The story does end on a high note, however, after 150 years of family history they have their first family member to graduate with an associates degree. I certainly hope she is the beginning of the end of this family’s criminal history. Thank you to First To Read and Penguin Random House for bringing this criminal story my way. I’ll be thinking about it for a while.

It was astonishing, to me, to hear how many crimes one person could commit in one lifetime. It just seemed that the Boggles were not real and just part of some comedy show, because of how much crime went on it their family. The author tells the story of the Bogle family and their propensity for criminality while explaining the behavioral and criminology theories that explain why they seem to not be able to leave the life of crime. The author explains that the reasons why a person resorts to crime are more complex than we may think and therefore the “fix/cure” for such behavior is not as simple as sending these individuals to prison. He makes this content readable and I will be looking for his other books.

Interesting tale of crime as it is passed down fro generation to generation. Whether stemming from disenfranchisement with the system or lack of opportunity, it is obvious that familial crime is perpetuated from parent to child. This book explores a specific family and all the members who had run-ins with the law. Well written and researched, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in crime and forensics.

Oral history and a study of criminology for four generations. What a great introduction to both. I thoroughly enjoyed the interplay of the lifestyle of a multi generaltion family of criminals and the past and current thought and studies of what causes crime and its recurrence for both individuals and in families. Butterrfield's readable style and interviewing skills untangle causes and relationships to create a clearer picture of the causes for career criminals and how they pass this lifestyle to their families. "In My Father's House" delineates our failures as a society to provide help and resources for these people. By also telling the success stories of family members who have broken this pattern, we can see a better way. I highly recommend this book to any who are interested in the criminal justice system in the USA.

Excellent telling of a frustratingly sad story of a family that has gone too far down a bad road.

This book was fascinating and should be assigned to all high school juniors or seniors to read. The idea that crime is not a racial problem is a bit hard to fathom when one looks at the news and crime shows on TV. One would think that the vast majority of crime is committed by those of non-Caucasian ethnicity, but Fox Butterfield leads the reader on a journey that in a lot of ways leaves more questions than answers. Butterfield posits that there may very well be a genetic component to crime and also that nurture, especially the bad type can lead to a small number of families making up the greater majority of those incarcerated. The author was able to track crime, incarceration and recidivism within a single White family, the Bogles, from at least the 1930s to the present day. By tracking the evidence relayed in the family's telling of their and others escapades, Butterfield not only telling the history of crime in a microcosm, but also the history of the prison system. Even if one thinks they are open-minded, there rare still items that will hopefully give pause to one's thinking. Now, granted, some of the theories put forth cannot be proven even in this advanced age as the medical technology is not able to provide those answers at this time. It would be interesting to see how close Butterfield has come to the truth 50, even 100 years from now.

I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. This is an interesting view of how crime follows generation after generation in a family. This is interesting because in this theory, it is white families, not blacks. In this theory, people are not given the chance to get back on their feet once they have gone to jail or prison. Once they have been convicted, they can never be a productive member of society again, so they just go back in the system, and repeat the cycle. Then, blacks became part of the cycle because we added drugs to the mixture and now they are part of the cycle. This also posits that the system is made up of a very small amount of the same families. This is a very interesting theory, but it’s kind of a dry read because he tries to put too many stats in it.

Fox Butterfield has written an expose of sorts. With all the books written in the past decade about rampant crime and police brutality, specifically regarding the black community, Butterfield takes a different tack and suggests a large part of the prison population, regardless of color, is related by blood and have familial ties to crime going back decades. His extensive research profiles one family - The Bogles: white, poor and criminal - and traces their criminal roots back to the Great Depression, when desperation drove many folks to deviant behavior in order to survive and support their families. Butterfield was able to gain intimate access and trust from the Bogle family, yielding comprehensive interviews, and through their stories learned how criminal behavior was passed down from one generation to the next, with the parents encouraging their children to commit crimes and do hard time in order to gain acceptance and respect. By removing race from the equation, Butterfield suggests that criminality is a disease, just like many others, that is often hereditary. "It takes a family to raise a criminal." Butterfield points out: "We talk about the importance of family values, and in doing so we tend to assume that these values are good, but family values can go off track and be bad, and the results, over generations, can be devastating." It takes a collossal effort to break the pattern and choose a different way of life when everyone in your familial circle are practiced felons. Many of the Bogle children would grow up to do hard time, get out, try to go straight and fail because not participating in the family business was looked upon with derision. If the young man or woman continued to try and live straight, the police would frequently pull over their cars and arrest them anyway because it was likely someone in their family was guilty - it became a vicious cycle. In an effort to change, some of the Bogles moved to Oregon from Texas, thinking a new environment where their family name was unknown would help them stay straight. But as soon as things got tough; their continued low status in society, being disadvantaged "urban hillbillies" along with their DNA, they'd soon fall back on crime, a way of life they understood, often compounded by drug abuse and alcoholism. Butterfield takes us through several branches of the Bogle family tree, following grandfather, sons and grandsons; daughters and wives (who often chose their future husbands via something called, "assortive mating"), selecting partners with similar characteristics to the men they were raised with - men with criminal backgrounds, histories of drunkeness and violence and histories of incarceration, until the reader is convinced there will never be any hope for anyone with Bogle blood running through their veins. Reader Beware: Every stereotype ever invented to describe fringe-of-society behavioral patterns will occur to you during the telling of this story - keeping an open mind becomes difficult even if you have an above-average ability to practice empathy and compassion. It is with muted relief the author introduces us to Tammie Bogle and then Ashley Bogle in the latter part of the book entitled: BREAKING THE FAMILY CURSE. The women began to turn the ship, first Tammie after a few false starts, who found religion and then a good man and came to understand that the key to keeping her relatives away from a life of crime as they came out of incarceration was to have them avoid moving back in with their families. She and her husband ran a halfway house and the couple helped over 3,000 former convicts with rehabilitation until a disgruntled board member shut their efforts down. Ashley, the grandaughter of arguably the worst of the Bogle's, a sociopath named Rooster, was raised in a household determined to break the chain. Her parents stayed together after a rocky start and managed to kept the criminal element at arms length for a time, sending Ashley and her siblings to school, despite numerous moves and school changes due to their near-poverty existence. When Ashley's father (Rooster's son Tim) was diagnosed with bipolar disorder the influences of the criminal Bogles would impinge on their household: Even as Ashley became the first Bogle to finish highshool and graduate college in 150 years, her younger sister became an unwed mother, developed a drug habit and was arrested and put in jail for drug possession and child neglect. There is no happy ending to this story but certainly Fox Butterfield's well-researched, timely book will help us better understand the hereditary and genetic predisposition of over 50% of our probation/paroled/jailed/prison population **My thanks to Penguin Random House for the digital ARC in exchange for a candid review.

While I liked this book, I found at times that it was like reading a textbook. The technical and psychological explanations in this book tended to take away from the story of this family.

This is a great book, i liked reading about all the history and crimes of the family. How being around crime and the people who do it can have a adverse effect on a child. This would be for someone who wants to understand how criminals are and sometimes it's not their doing but the people around them

I first became acquainted with the writing of Fox Butterfield a few years ago when his classic All God's Children was assigned in a Forensic Psychology class I was taking. While the beginning part of the story, which laid the historical background of Willie, was important, I felt like it dragged; but since it was an assigned reading, I stayed with it and I'm glad I did! I absolutely LOVED All God's Children and was disappointed to learn, upon further research, that Butterfield hadn't, at that time, published any other book. I was THRILLED when I received an email from you regarding upcoming books and I found out that not only did he write a new book, which was to be released shortly, but that I could actually get an advance copy. In My Father's House did NOT disappoint!! As a high school English teacher, teaching in an inner-city school, I found it to be essential reading! The story he told of the Bogles is one that must be told. There is so much truth to what he wrote. I see it every day in my classroom. I loved the idea that he chose to tackle big issues (crime, poverty, lack of education) using one family's story as the guiding vehicle. While the statistics are overwhelming, the fact that the Bogles actually embody those statistics make this book one of a kind! I applaud the author for moving away from traditional stories of poor African-Americans and removing the issue of race in this book. I feel that it was a very important discussion to have, examining these societal issues outside for the realm of race. The Bogles story is heart-breakingly real. This is a book that should be mandatory reading for all high school or college students. As Harper Lee wrote in her classic novel "you never really know someone until you walk in their shoes," Fox Butterfield proved that in this book. If we are going to better our society, we must put a human face on issues in order to move people, government to action. Butterfield is a master story-teller!! I highly recommend this book for everyone to read. Thank you First to Read for allowing me to read and to review this incredible book!!

Thank you to the First to Read program for an ARC of this book. Reading about so many members of one family who had been raised to glorify criminality, all I could think was, of course. Of course a child raised by parents who break the law and (for the most part) get away with it will have little respect for the rule of law. The benefits of breaking the law -- food to eat, a place to live, glory from one's family and peers -- outweigh the costs. The anecdotes about children taken away from such familial influences seem to show that this separation does break the cycle. The problem still, though, is that we as a society have a hard time breaking up families. It goes against our more and natures. Great work from Fox Butterfield.

I have been an avid student of crime and criminals most of my adult life, with my main interest being the psychology behind the crime. This book gave me a much broader perspective on the subject; I had no idea that crime could not only be a product of one's environment but potentially of one's genetics. I was fascinated by the concept. The author had a daunting task -- present the story of the Bogle family and support it with statistics. Given that ambition, I feel that he did very well. The narrative, while sometimes bogged down by statistics, overall felt more like a story than a report. It was well researched, well presented, and utterly fascinating.

I am a huge fan of true crime and of this book. It provides and interesting insight into the background of criminals and is proof positive that, without education or someone showing you the difference, criminals are product of their environment. The story was fascinating and I definitely see this story becoming a documentary or a series. I have been talking about it and am going to give it a second read.

I am a true crime fan and I approve of In My Father's House. Butterfield's insight into criminology is profound. The tale of the Bogle family is needed. I have a better understanding of crime, The book exceeded my expectations. I simply do not have enough words to give it justice. I loved this work and it's probably the best read from First to Read I had the honor of scrolling so far. Thanks a lot.

In My Father's House confronts nature and nurture, racism, family history as it chronicles a family with multiple generations and multiple family members who are incarcerated for crimes ranging from theft to murder. It was disconcerting to read of the pride when fathers would realize their endeavors to raise up children as criminals would result in their incarceration. In other words, the genealogy of the Bogle family is one messed up history. It's not surprising to learn that the Bogles fell into a pattern of grifting, thievery, and murder once you read the author's assertion from criminologists from the United States and other countries that "as little as five percent of families account for two-thirds of all crimes." The racism of our incarceration system really struck me as I read In My Father's House. Consider just one particular research, the Gluecks' study conducted in the Boston area in the 1940s. All of the delinquent boys from this study were white. "This racial makeup is a reminder that until the 1960s at least, until the Second Great Migration of black from the South after World War II, most crime, including violent crime, was committed by whites." How then is it that as of 2014, 69% of all crimes reported to the police are committed by whites yet 6% of black men age thirty to thirty-nine were in prison; Hispanic men of the same age was 2%, and white men of same age was 1%? In the Bogle family, at least 60 family members have been arrested or imprisoned. This lineage of crime dates back to the 1920s. The Epilogue contains a surprising twist that is not be missed. True crime fans would really enjoy this well researched glimpse into the life of a crime family.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. Having worked in the criminal justice field for most of my career, I, like many of my colleagues, have seen this concept in action and have long suspected that the family played a role in the transmission or development of criminal behavior. Given the difficulty of piecing together the information to confirm it is an enormous task as stated by the author. Rather than just suggesting the role of the family in criminality, the author undertakes to observe the factors and facets that are the dynamics, mostly dysfunctional, and with mental health underpinnings, of the family that the criminal subjects come from. It is a monument ours work and I would highly recommend it to anyone seeking more information or looking to reform our current penal system.

The book In My Father’s House begins with several crime statistics. The statistics are interesting, for example, 69% of all reported crimes are committed by whites, yet 6% of all black men between the ages of 30-39 are in prison. I found some of the odd references to American history to be fascinating such as what marriage was like among poor whites in the 19th century and about the inception of our prison system. Our prison system was created to be a deterrent to criminal behavior, not to rehabilitate criminals to be productive members in society. Most of the book is a study of four generations of the Bogle family and how the 60 people he was able to find information about and/or interview in this family were career criminals. Butterfield’ s premise is that Criminal behavior is passed down from parents to children. One of the most egregious characters in this family tree was Rooster who taught his children to be criminals. Apparently criminal behavior is learned behavior and possibly has a genetic component. Butterfield gives the latest scientific research about this. This book is a quick read and it is very interesting. Butterfield makes good points and backs up what he says with lots of examples and data. After a point, I found myself becomming tired of reading about the aberrant Bogle family. They were truly tiresome. I was shocked to find that families like these cost society millions and millions and millions of dollars. It made me reflect on the investment in effective early childhood interventions could save much pain and suffering. With a for profit prison system, this is highly unlikely.

"One time he made Tony get drunk and then ordered him to box his much larger father." I received a copy of this ebook from in exchange for an honest review. This is a brutal and fascinating book. Following the Bogle family (including extended family) the author looks at how relationships affected this group to drive so many of them (at least 60!) to commit crimes that led them to prison or reform school. By interviewing various family members about their experiences Fox Butterfield puts together a terrible story of how Rooster shaped his sons to be criminals and how the cycle of abuse continued to have the same affect on generations. This book examines the toxic masculinity and other dangerous habits the Bogle's exhibit that link to family dysfunction and led to lives of crime. It's really an interesting peak into this family that gives us insight on how to prevent crime and heal victims of abuse.

First I want to Thank You for allowing me to read an advance copy of this book. This book was great! At first it was hard to get into because there was a lot of names mentioned, but as the story went on it was easier to tell who was who. I learned a lot from this book. I learned that having a childhood with love, limits and the right parents help kids stay out of prison. Nurturing is important. I was surprised that so many of the Bogles kept going back to prison.


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