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Amazing Grace

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Overview

"Amazing Grace" is a book about about the hearts of children who grow up in the South Bronx - the poorest congressional district of our nation.

The children we meet through the deepening friendships that evolve between Jonathan Kozol and their families defy the stereotypes of urban youth too frequently presented on TV and in newspapers. Tender, generous, and often religiously devout, they speak with painful clarity about the poverty and racial isolation that have wounded but not hardened them. "It's not like ...

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Overview

"Amazing Grace" is a book about about the hearts of children who grow up in the South Bronx - the poorest congressional district of our nation.

The children we meet through the deepening friendships that evolve between Jonathan Kozol and their families defy the stereotypes of urban youth too frequently presented on TV and in newspapers. Tender, generous, and often religiously devout, they speak with painful clarity about the poverty and racial isolation that have wounded but not hardened them. "It's not like being in a jail," says 15-year-old Isabel. "It's more like being hidden. It's as if you have been put in a garage where, if they don't have room for something but aren't sure if they should throw it out, they put it there where they don't need to think of it again."

Without rhetoric, but drawing extensively upon the words of children, parents, and priests, this book does not romanticize or soften the effects of violence and sickness. "Amazing Grace" makes clear that the postmodern ghetto of America is not a social accident but is created and sustained by greed, neglect, racism, and expedience. It asks questions like - what is the value of a child's life? what do we plan to do with those whom we have decided are superfluous? how tough do we dare to be?

A bestselling author despite, or perhaps because of, the disturbing news he brings readers, Kozol--whose Savage Inequalities spent four weeks on the New York Times bestseller list--speaks once again to the conscience of the country. This book offers an unforgettable, moving portrait of the lives of a handful of desperately poor children, living in the South Bronx, who retain their innocence and wonder against all odds.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Kozol (Savage Inequalities) began visiting New York's South Bronx in 1993, focusing on Mott Haven, a poor neighborhood that is two thirds Hispanic, one third black. This disquieting report graphically portrays a world where babies are born to drug-using mothers with AIDS, where children are frequently murdered, jobs are scarce and a large proportion of the men are either in prison or on crack cocaine or heroin. Kozol interviewed ministers, teachers, drug pushers, children who have not yet given up hope. His powerfully understated report takes us inside rat-infested homes that are freezing in winter, overcrowded schools, dysfunctional clinics, soup kitchens. Rejecting what he calls the punitive, blame-the-poor ideology that has swept the nation, Kozol points to systemic discrimination, hopelessness, limited economic opportunities and New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's cutbacks in social services as causes of this crisis. While his narrative offers no specific solutions, it forcefully drives home his conviction: a civilized nation cannot allow this situation to continue. Author tour. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Alicea and Kozol paint a vivid portrait of life in one of America's most impoverished neighborhoods, New York City's South Bronx. While telling similar stories, each narrative has its own unique flavor and characteristics that reveal the crushing nature of poverty in America and recount the lives of those who rise above it. Kozol (Savage Inequalities, LJ 9/15/91) describes a neighborhood ravaged by drugs, violence, hunger, AIDS, and antipathy but also one where children defy all the stereotypes. In the South Bronx, where the median income is $7600 a year and everything breaks down, Kozol reveals that the one thing that has remained resilient is the children. One of the resident children is 15-year-old Alicea, who saw his mother and sister succumb to AIDS, a father incarcerated in prison, and friends entrapped by drugs or violence. Like that of many children, his story is a life of options or despair. The path they pursue is dependent on government leadership. Both books should be required reading for policymakers and those concerned with the plight of the American poor.-Michael A. Lutes, Univ. of Notre Dame Lib., Ind.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781441841377
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 2/19/2010
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Kozol
Jonathon Kozol has been awarded the National Book Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. His previous books include Amazing Grace and Savage Inequalities. He lives in Byfield, Massachusetts.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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