Customer Reviews for

Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted August 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great Book!!

    this is a great book from begining to end. It is very easy to make a visual in your mimd of what is going on. reading this book it makes you want to be greatful for the things that you have, because the children presented have so little bit they appreciate just living from day to day.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2005

    great

    this book was real. kozol uses hard facts along with testimony to make this a book that no one can put down

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2007

    Eye-Opener

    An eye-opening account of the lives lead by people in poverty. Every person should read this book in order to understand how the cycle of poverty works.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2006

    Amazing Grace: The worst or best book ever written?

    How do life and the world work? Is it Fortune¿s Wheel, spinning round and round, giving and taking as it rises and falls? Or is it the Circle of Life, a long chain continuously flowing, setting a chain reaction that ends where it all began? Kozol only touches on a minute part of the life and the world, yet he opens our eyes to so much. Yes, we all feel for those less fortunate than us, but very few have gone as far as Jonathan Kozol, entering the lives of those said people. When he writes, he gives them a voice that they otherwise would not have had, and lets us know what we previously didn¿t. We might ponder why Kozol chose to interview various peoples in the sketchy neighborhoods of New York City. It¿s possible because he wanted to show the truth of what happens in the neglected areas of our country. It isn¿t all sunshine and rainbows with a pot of gold at the end, and little white bunny rabbits hopping about. The world is a cruel place, and rarely forgives easily. It took Kozol months in 1994 to get these few stories of those who living in and near the South Bronx. He captures the stories of children in his other books, and continues to do so. His tales are not those of the faerie realms, nor of those of happily ever after, what a cliché. Instead it¿s of the poor, sick, discriminated. Kozol is trying to get across is to OPEN OUR EYES to what happens daily around us and in our lives. Jonathan Kozol goes around, interviewing the people in the neighborhoods of New York City, getting the stories what later became his book. Even though this book is extremely well written, I found the stories somewhat repetitive, with he over using what should have been cut down to less. So, if you want information, read this book. And if you want to be slightly bored, this book is also for you. I have to say, I¿m in between thinking this book is the most boring ever, and the best. So read Amazing Brace, and found out for yourself.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2006

    aaaaammmaaaaaaaaazzziiiiiinnggggg graaaacceeeee

    Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation portrays the lives of people living in the ¿bad¿ areas of New York City, such as Harlem and the South Bronx, and accentuates the hardships that both adults and children must face every day. Most of these people it focuses on are either Black or Hispanic, poor, drug addicted, uneducated, unemployed, sickly (AIDS/ HIV), or homeless. Kozol ventures into the areas no other 'non- ghetto' person would dare to go, and listens to people who are usually ignored and shunned by society. What he finds out is quite astonishing to people who are not aware of the grasp poverty and disease has on the people of such areas, and how it affects future generations. He speaks to children who are witnesses to, to them, everyday occurrences such as murder, rape, and drug abuse, and who are orphaned, born in jail, segregated, oppressed, mentally unstable, or infected with a lethal disease. He also exposes a side of poor people that stereotypes so not usually allow the innocent, hopeful, and caring ones who do not rape, murder, or sell drugs and are simply trying to get by despite the obvious setbacks. This book is somewhat biased, and mainly voices the ideas and opinions of those living in the South Bronx/ Harlem area, resulting in somewhat negative standpoint on the state of New York, as well as on people who are not poor. It contains countless deaths of the various people that Kozol passes by in the borough, which is not exactly cheerful subject matter. It also focuses greatly on the impact religion has on these undermined people and how it gives them hope, even in their dreadful situation. It¿s not a book you want to read on Christmas break. Or whenever you¿re happy for that matter.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2006

    Kozel Opens My Eyes

    Before reading Jonathan Kozol¿s Amazing Grace, I always thought the South Bronx was ¿what was happenin¿¿ according to KRS-One¿s song ¿South Bronx.¿ Unfortunately unlike the upbeat tempo and rhythm of this song, this non-fiction compilation of stories of the South Bronx is a place full of peril, hatred, and abandonment. Kozol¿s work describes the difficulties of the lives of the citizen¿s of the South Bronx, and the tragedies that constantly surround them. Many people claim that this book presents an argument that supports Kozol¿s political opinion. However, the author never comes straight out in this book and calls someone or some group the ¿bad guy.¿ He leaves it up to the readers to decide who is at fault, and what most be changed within the communities. For example, when Kozol was walking with Gizelle Luke, a woman who he chooses to interview, near the highway she pointed out ¿pictures of flowers, window shades and curtains and interiors of pretty-looking rooms that have been painted on these buildings on the sides that face the highway. It¿s a very strange sight, and the pictures have been done so well that when you look the first time, you imagine that you¿re seeing into people¿s homes¿The city has these murals painted on the walls, she says, not for the people in the neighborhood ¿ because they¿re facing the wrong way ¿ but for tourists and commuters¿ (31). The author never attaches any direct blame to the struggles in the South Bronx however, through accounts such as these he lets the audience make their own decisions. For instance, in the above passage the reader may conclude that the local governments are not fulfilling their role in society. Kozol does a mastery job in making subtle arguments throughout the text to persuade his audience. In addition to the author¿s arguments, his interviews with some of the children of Mott Haven are heart wrenching and beautiful. Some of the statements they make about heaven and life itself, is something you would never expect to hear a child say, nevertheless, a child from the South Bronx. A 12-year-old boy name Jeremiah makes note that ¿`It isn¿t where people live. It¿s how they live¿¿`There are different economies in different places¿¿`Life in Riverdale is opened up. Where we live, it¿s locked down¿¿ (32). Imagine a 12-year-old child making this type of conclusion about his life. When one reads this child making this statement, one is overwhelmed by how intelligent and for how much this child has to live. Then, as one continues through the book this happiness and joy is struck down, as the reader realizes that Jeremiah is probably going to become another victim of his society. The book is very interesting and entertaining to any reader. Kozol¿s style is easy to understand and holds the attention of any reader as he appeals to the audience¿s emotions and values. The issues raised in this book effects everyone in America, not just those in the South Bronx or the surrounding area. It is imperative for one understand that all are apart of the problems that the South Bronx faces. No one is exempt from the hardships faced there. Unless one believes that ¿`Some people are better than others,¿ wrote conservative social scientist Charles Murray several years ago. `They deserve more of society¿s rewards¿¿ (154). Then when it comes to the day of one¿s own reckoning, his or her final judgment will already be made. This book is a must read for anyone who believes in equality and justice. Everyone is apart of our American family. ¿Many men and women in the Bronx believe that it is going to get worse. I don¿t know what can change this¿ (230). Well, it can start with everyone becoming aware of the situation at hand. Great read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2003

    Amazing

    AS a 13 year who lives in the Bronx. I am very grateful for the things I have because in the old days there was to many problems and this book showed me why.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2003

    Astounding

    It gives me the chills when I think about it because it is so real. Not that it hits close to home, because it doesn't, but that is what makes this book so amazing. It has allowed me look beyond my misconceptions and into a world where I would have never thought existed. Its based on true life and is absolutely astounding. A definite must read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2003

    wow

    I absolutely loved this book. It helps me to see a world so far from my own. I'll never forget the bears. Just gripping.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2003

    Great Book

    This was an excellent book. Defintely Worth while to read. It taught you about life and how great it is. A moving piece of literature.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2003

    Wonderful Book!!

    Jonathan Kozol did a great job with this book. This book helped me realize that I wanted to go into sociology. His book exposes the realities of inner-city life and the struggles these children face. This book will make you develop more of a compassion for these children.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2001

    Wow

    I first heard of Jonathan Kozol over a year ago, as he was speaking at the Lied Center in Lawrence, Kansas. Being a prospective teacher (knock on wood), I thought his advertised experience with children would shine through in his presentation. And it did. I don't know if I've heard of a man with more compassion for these people of unfortunate circumstances. I came away hoping to read some of his work, and had the pleasure of doing so this past December upon receiving this book from my sister for Christmas. The book showed me just how important helping others is, and reaffirmed my aspirations to teach and help children in the future. An excellent read that can open your eyes to social conditions not all of us run into in our lives.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2000

    The Lives of Impoverished Children

    Amazing Grace, The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation tells the story of the lives of the youth living in the most poverty stricken areas of New York City. Jonathan Kozol interviews the children and families of Mott Haven residents and the surrounding neighborhoods of the South Bronx to attempt to understand their feelings and beliefs. Neighborhoods that are plagued with gangs, prostitutes,and drug addicts are still the playgrounds for the children in Mott Haven. The Children's Park located in the center of Mott Haven, serves many functions in the community. A disease control group sets up weekly for a needle exchange program in the afternoon. Drug dealers use it for business after sunset. Old teddy bears hang that dangle from strings off branches of a small tree serve as baby sitters as the mothers complete their business a few yards away. Every child knows what goes on in the public park, but considerate a part of every day life. These children continue to play and fantisize like children in afluent neighborhoods. As the children grow older, they are able to see the differences between their neighborhoods, and those that are on TV. The differences are not just in the schools or apartments, but also in the types of businesses and billdboards that the government puts there. The city of New York even paid for a mural to be painted on the side of a dilopitated building so the tourists to see, not the residents. The residents feel insulted by this, but it not the first time, or the last. The adolescents who are able to avoid the lure of drugs and gangs have a feeling of anger from being wronged. Their sence of inferiority is supported by the looks and attitudes of the wealth people as they walk into any store in Manhattan. These cgildren, who know more about the struggles of life, overcoming probles, and death than I ever will, continue to have hopes and dream. They fantisize about moving out of the projects and having a family and a job just like a child from any othe neighborhood. They dream about their goals and their future. And the most important thing is that they continue to have hope. Amazing Grace by Jonathan Kozol is a powerful, informative book that forces one to analyze his or her own behaviors and beliefs. It is easy to read, but forces one to reflect upon how your own actions can help or hinder the children in these poverty stricken areas. The children and families who live in these areas do not want pity. They want things to change. Reading this book empowers one to do that.

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    Posted October 28, 2008

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    Posted June 2, 2009

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    Posted July 7, 2013

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    Posted February 20, 2010

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    Posted October 29, 2008

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    Posted October 25, 2008

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    Posted August 4, 2010

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