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

by Jonathan Kozol

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91379,628 (4.21)8
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    Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton (kristenl)
    kristenl: Both books depict societies with gross inequities.
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» See also 8 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
I think this book would have had much more of an impact if I'd read it back in 1995 when it was first published. The cold sad truth is that these stories are now all-too-familiar in many impoverished neighborhoods around our nation including in my own city of Birmingham, Alabama. Although I have not studied the statistics, my gut tells me that the income gap between the poorest poor and the richest rich in New York City has widened substantially since this book was written. The New York Times, however, reported just this year about the number of middle class professionals, many of them white, moving into the neighborhoods described in Jonathan Kozol's book. Apparently the attraction is affordable real estate, an increasingly safe neighborhood where major crime has plummeted over the past 20 years, and a reasonable commute to jobs in Manhatten. I'm pleased to hear that the reputation of the neighborhood is changing for what appears to be the better but I would be very interested in a follow up book on the children highlighted in "Amazing Grace." Where are they today and have those precious children benefited from the enhancements and improvements in their neighborhood? My prayers may have already been answered as Kozol's newest book, Fire in the Ashes, which was published in August 2012 does just that. ( )
  kellifrobinson | Nov 25, 2014 |
This is an incredibly depressing book.
  bfertig | Oct 25, 2011 |
A simple but powerful read about the children of the South Bronx. Their abandonment by local government and social institutions should not be surprising to anyone familiar with the area and the issues of national poverty in general. However, the neglect is still shocking.

Kozol writes without forcefully pushing personal dogma or accusing nor blaming anyone (mostly), which makes Amazing Grace feel honest and open, allowing the reader to learn and grapple with the heart-wrenching subjects in his or her own capacity. Though it's a shame that his text is just a book and not a solution, at least it's step in a progressive direction. ( )
  librarianshannon | Feb 25, 2011 |
This book is the incredibly shaking story of the poor of the poor in our nation. This is a book that I would definitely reserve for an older age group. This books takes a very detailed look at the oppression facing the poor in New York and the way that the system forces them to seek help and then rejects them. The reason I would include this book is because, if I thought my students were old enough, I think that this can be a very powerful tool in shaping students' impressions of the world they live in - and this book can also be a very powerful call to action. I would worry about the extent of graphic detail, however I think that this book truly offers students a way to step outside of their own perspective. While understanding most texts involves relating yourself to the work of the text, I think that this book offers a different approach in that it forces the reader to interact with a perspective that may be wholly un-relatable to them - and through this is an opportunity for tremendous growth as a person.
  becskau | Sep 28, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060976977, Paperback)

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. One 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?

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:22 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Amazing Grace is a book about the hearts of children who grow up in the South Bronx - the poorest congressional district of our nation. 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. One 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. Although it is a gently written work, 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 us 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 tough do we dare to be?… (more)

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