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Search - Amazing Grace : The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation
Amazing Grace The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation Author:Jonathan Kozol The children in this book defy the stereotypes of urban youth too frequently presented by the media. Tender, generous and often religiously devout, they speak with eloquence and honesty about the poverty and racial isolation that have wounded but not hardened them. — The book does not romanticize or soften the effects of violence and sickness. On... more »e fourth of the child-bearing women in the neighborhoods where these children live test positive for HIV. Pediatric AIDs, life-consuming fires and gang rivalries take a high toll. Several children die during the year in which this narrative takes place.
A gently written work, Amazing Grace asks questions that are at once political and theological. What is the value of a child's life? What exactly do we plan to do with those whom we appear to have defined as economically and humanly superfluous? How cold -- how cruel, how tough -- do we dare be?« less
Roy L. reviewed Amazing Grace : The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation on
2 member(s) found this review helpful.
I ordered this book because I'm a social worker in the South Bronx; on any given day I'm likely to pass by a location Kozol describes, and i wouldn't be surprised if I've met people he interviewed. The book has its very good points; it does capture some of the gritty reality that I see every day, that many people who read it will probably find unbelievable. FWIW, things are better her now in some respects. I do not meet people who have stories to tell about seeing people killed as a commonplace act, and my program, which includes drug testing, mostly finds marijuana. The streets are not littered with crack vials and needles any more. So some of the extreme elements are a bit dated. More importantly, when the author tries to move beyond reportage into social analysis, he seems a bit out of his league. He reports ridiculous conspiracy theories advanced by clients without comment; he can't seem to get beyond sympathizing with his subjects and the simplistic assertion that a compassionate society would meet all their needs. True enough but not the totality of what causes the situation. and not a useful truth, because society is not likely to adopt a more compassionate stance, so the book leaves one feeling rather more empty and hopeless than the actual situation deserves.