Book Talk     

In My Father’s House: A New View of How Crime Runs in the Family

Free and open to the public
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
7PM – 8:30PM

  • Free
  • Researchers
  • Teachers

Oregon Historical Society
1200 SW Park Ave
Portland, Oregon 97205
Get Directions

Event Type: Book TalkAudience(s): Researchers, TeachersLocation: Portland

Join us to hear Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist Fox Butterfield discuss his new book, In My Father’s House: A New View of How Crime Runs in the Family (Knopf, 10/9/18).

The United States currently holds the distinction of housing nearly one-quarter of the world's prison population.  But as few as 5 percent of American families account for half of all crime, and only 10 percent account for two-thirds.  To examine the influence of family on crime, Butterfield investigates a sprawling Oregon family with a generations-long legacy of lawlessness, the Bogles, and chronicles how their malignant heritage of criminality was passed down from parents to children, grandchildren, and event great-grandchildren.  As he traces criminal behavior through the generations, Butterfield forces us to see law breaking and violence in an eye-opening new light, and by focusing on a white family he helps to disentangle race from crime and overcome one of our most deep-seated stereotypes.

In My Father's House: A New View of How Crime Runs in the Family is a groundbreaking examination of crime and incarceration in America.  Looking beyond well known risk factors for criminality like poverty, bad neighborhoods, drugs, and gangs, Butterfield argues we also need to pay close attention to recent studies that show that crime seems to run in certain families.

More info here:

Ability Accommodation Information

This event provides the following accommodations:

  • Handicap Accessible

Fox Butterfield


“Fox Butterfield has written 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, author, Deadfall

“Fox Butterfield somehow managed to find the most colorful family of outlaws in recent times, which makes for a very entertaining read. During my 44 years behind bars, I saw ample evidence that criminality runs in some families, though I never met a prisoner who had so glamorous a view of his family’s lawless exploits as do the Bogles. There’s a lot of valuable information and insight in this book, the most thought-provoking being the observation that taking children to visit their incarcerated relatives normalizes or even romanticizes prison and contributes to ‘mass incarceration thus [becoming] a vicious cycle.’”

—Wilbert Rideau, author, In the Place of Justice

“In My Father’s House is a critically needed book, at once searing and poignant. Whether conservative or liberal, your assumptions about our criminal justice system will be shaken when you read it. With an academic’s research, a journalist’s eye for observation, and the fluidity of a novel, Butterfield puts a human face on the statistics and studies. This should be required reading in every sociology class, for every criminal justice student, and in every law school clinic. And every American who cares about a system that is costing us nearly $200 billion annually, and has 2.3 million Americans incarcerated, can’t afford not to read it.”

—Raymond Bonner, author, Anatomy of Injustice

“I was overwhelmed by In My Father's House. I simply couldn't put the book down. The reporting on a single crime-filled family, generation after generation, is truly remarkable, as is the historical and more contemporary research on crime and families. This is a book not just for criminal justice professionals but for anyone who cares about his or her community and public safety.”

—Gil Kerlikowske, former Chief of Police, Seattle