The Rat That Got Away: A Bronx Memoir

Overview


The Rat That Got Away is an inspiring story of one man's odyssey from the streets of the Bronx to a life as a professional athlete and banker in Europe, but it is also provides a unique vantage point on the history of the Bronx and sheds new light on a neglected period in American urban history.

Allen Jones grew up in a public housing project in the South Bronx at a time-the 1950s-when that neighborhood was a place of optimism and hope for upwardly mobile Black and Latino ...

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The Rat That Got Away: A Bronx Memoir

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Overview


The Rat That Got Away is an inspiring story of one man's odyssey from the streets of the Bronx to a life as a professional athlete and banker in Europe, but it is also provides a unique vantage point on the history of the Bronx and sheds new light on a neglected period in American urban history.

Allen Jones grew up in a public housing project in the South Bronx at a time-the 1950s-when that neighborhood was a place of optimism and hope for upwardly mobile Black and Latino families. Brought up in a two-parent household, with many neighborhood mentors, Jones led an almost charmed life as a budding basketball star until his teen years, when his once peaceful neighborhood was torn by job losses, white flight, and a crippling drug epidemic. Drawn into the heroin trade, first as a user, then as a dealer, Jones spent four months on Rikers Island, where he experienced a crisis of conscience and a determination to turn his life around. Sent to a New England prep school upon his release, Jones used his basketball skills and street smarts to forge a life outside the Bronx, first as a college athlete in the South, then as a professional basketball player, radio personality, and banker in Europe.

A brilliant storyteller with a gift for dialogue, Jones brings Bronx streets and housing projects to life as places of possibility as well as tragedy, where racism and economic hardship never completely suppressed the resilient spirit of its residents. A book that will change the way people view the South Bronx.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This is a story that can be appreciated by all walks of life, on and off the court, in and out of the streets, novice and expert of the social norms of the ghetto, as its message rings true for all of humanity.-Pamela Lewis, Bronx Historical Society Journal

Few could have imagined the path the troubled youth would travel. Leaving behind a life of drugs and crime, Allen Jones became an international banker.-Roanoake College Magazine

A chronicle of Jones' life, from his youth in a Bronx housing development to a career as a professional basketball player in Europe.-Columbia College Today

Library Journal
Jones pursued two successful careers in Europe: professional basketball player and banker. If you met him, you might not guess he spent his teen years as a heroin dealer in New York. His memoir, written with Naison (history & African American studies, Fordham Univ.) focuses on his experiences growing up in a Bronx public housing project, playing serious basketball, ignoring school, dealing and doing drugs, and eventually lucking into a series of experiences that led to a professional basketball career in Europe. Jones credits his success to his supportive family, coaches, and neighborhood elders, but ultimately his is a tale of luck. The young Jones makes rash decisions, avoids his responsibilities, lies, and steals but also encounters many unlikely second chances. In another writer's hands, this blessed triumph-over-adversity story line might be trite and irritating, but Jones draws readers in with his direct, conversational style, and the tale is gripping even though readers know it will end well. VERDICT Recommended for memoir lovers and anyone interested in a first-person perspective on 1960s-era urban adolescence.—Emily-Jane Dawson, Multnomah Cty. Lib., Portland, OR\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823231034
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2011
  • Edition description: 3
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,332,442
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Allen Jones, born in the Bronx, is a manager for foreign currency exchange at Dexia BanqueInternationale at Luxembourg.

Mark Naison is Professor of African American Studies and History at Fordham University, where he also directs the Bronx African American History Project. He is the author of three books, including White Boy: A Memoir.

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