The city of Salinas, California, is the birthplace of John Steinbeck and the setting for his epic masterpiece East of Eden, but it is also the home of Nuestra Familia, one of the most violent gangs in the United States. Born in the prisons of California in the late 1960s, Nuestra Familia expanded to control drug trafficking and extortion operations throughout the northern half of the state, and left a trail of bodies in its wake.

Award-winning journalist Julia Reynolds tells the gang’s story from the inside out, following young men and women as they search for a new kind of family, quests that usually lead to murder and betrayal. Blood in the Fields also documents the history of Operation Black Widow, the FBI’s questionable decade-long effort to dismantle the Nuestra Familia, along with its compromised informants and the turf wars it created with local law enforcement agencies. Reynolds uses her unprecedented access to gang members, both in and out of prison, as well as undercover wire taps, depositions, and court documents to weave a gripping, comprehensive history of this brutal criminal organization and the lives it destroyed.




Julia Reynolds has reported on criminal justice and Northern California gangs for more than a decade. She coproduced and wrote the PBS documentary “Nuestra Familia, Our Family,” and is a staff writer at the Monterey County Herald. She has reported for PBS, the Discovery Channel, Mother Jones, The Nation, NPR, the San Francisco Chronicle, and more.

She was a 2009 Harvard Nieman Fellow focusing on solutions to gang violence, a 2010 Steinbeck Fellow in creative nonfiction, and has been an adjunct professor and researcher for the Center for Conflict Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. She lives in California's Central Coast.


Julia Reynolds is represented by The Andy Ross Literary Agency.


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