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All God's Children by Fox Butterfield

All God's Children (1995)

by Fox Butterfield

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[All God's Children] was a text assigned to me in a university course called "The History of Violence in the United States." While I was completely enthralled by the lectures, at the time I only skimmed sections of the book. Now, nearly 10 years later, I finally read the book in its entirety. It's an excellent read. The book details the history of America's sub-culture of violence by tracing the lineage of a particularly violent young man named Willie Bosket, who, as a juvenile, murdered two people in cold blood in NYC's subway system. His youthful crime spree was the impetus for the first law that allowed a juvenile to be tried as an adult in the United States. As it turns out, Willie was only the latest highly intelligent male member of his family to become a brutally violent career criminal. His father, grandfather, and great-grand father before him were all violent criminals and murderers. The story was very compelling, yet frustrating and left me feeling hopeless. As the chapters unfold the lives of each male Bosket, the reader is left to ride an emotional rollercoaster. I found myself getting angry - every time a Bosket seemed to be on the precipice of breaking the cycle, they would commit another brutal, senseless act of violence. The author did more than just tell the story - he identified the societal and systemic institutional shortcomings that he believed contributed to Willie's virtually predestined, self-fulfilling prophecy of criminality. He even provided an epilogue discussing possible solutions. Still though, when I put the book down, I felt like the events in the book were entirely inevitable. If you like books that challenge your world view - this one is a must read. ( )
  Pretear | Jan 26, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0380728621, Paperback)

Willie Bosket was charming, magnetic, and brilliant. He was also the most cold-blooded criminal the New York State penal system had ever seen. By the time he was in his teens, he had committed over two hundred armed robberies and twenty-five stabbings. Fox Butterfield examines the heritage of violence that followed Bosket's family from their days in slavery in South Carolina to the present.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:49 -0400)

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A history of violence in America as experienced by one family, from slavery in Edgefield, S.C., to prison in the urban North.

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