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Anthony WaltonD'Antonio's narrative strikes an admirable balance between the larger social context and scientific theories -- ''most troubling . . . is that it all began with a grand desire to do good'' -- and the children's lived experience … The rebellion of the state boys was less an isolated act -- though D'Antonio narrates the residents' climactic takeover of one building and the fateful consequences for those involved -- than a way of being. Despite the inhumane conditions in which they lived, the state boys, through countless small acts of self-assertion, and through the enduring friendships they formed with one another, refused to accept the state's categorization of them as anything less than fully human.
— The New York Times