I had to read this book for a university class, and I couldn't put it down. That is a rare thing. ;)
From the back cover: In this classic confessional autobiography--first published in 1967 and firmly in the tradition of Eldridge Cleaver's _Soul on Ice_ and _The Autobiography of Malcolm X_--Piri Thomas, a man of African and Puerto Rican descent living in Spanish Harlem, powerfully relates how he was lost even within his own family and sought his identity through drugs, street fighting, and armed robbery, nearly becoming yet another statistic by the age of twenty-two. His downward spiral from the barrio to Sing Sing is keenly and wisely described, as is his redemption, one found through suffering, endurance, and desire for understanding.