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Another Day in the Death of America

Cover of Another Day in the Death of America

Another Day in the Death of America

A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives
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WINNER OF THE 2017 J. ANTHONY LUKAS PRIZE


On an average day in America, seven children and teens will be shot dead. In Another Day in the Death of America, award-winning journalist Gary Younge tells the stories of the lives lost during one such day. It could have been any day, but he chose November 23, 2013. Black, white, and Latino, aged nine to nineteen, they fell at sleepovers, on street corners, in stairwells, and on their own doorsteps. From the rural Midwest to the barrios of Texas, the narrative crisscrosses the country over a period of twenty-four hours to reveal the full human stories behind the gun-violence statistics and the brief mentions in local papers of lives lost.
This powerful and moving work puts a human face-a child's face-on the "collateral damage" of gun deaths across the country. This is not a book about gun control, but about what happens in a country where it does not exist. What emerges in these pages is a searing and urgent portrait of youth, family, and firearms in America today.

WINNER OF THE 2017 J. ANTHONY LUKAS PRIZE


On an average day in America, seven children and teens will be shot dead. In Another Day in the Death of America, award-winning journalist Gary Younge tells the stories of the lives lost during one such day. It could have been any day, but he chose November 23, 2013. Black, white, and Latino, aged nine to nineteen, they fell at sleepovers, on street corners, in stairwells, and on their own doorsteps. From the rural Midwest to the barrios of Texas, the narrative crisscrosses the country over a period of twenty-four hours to reveal the full human stories behind the gun-violence statistics and the brief mentions in local papers of lives lost.
This powerful and moving work puts a human face-a child's face-on the "collateral damage" of gun deaths across the country. This is not a book about gun control, but about what happens in a country where it does not exist. What emerges in these pages is a searing and urgent portrait of youth, family, and firearms in America today.

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About the Author-
  • Gary Younge, an Alfred Knobler Fellow at the Nation Institute, is an award-winning columnist for the Guardian and Nation and an acclaimed author. In 2009 he won the British James Cameron award for his coverage of the 2008 presidential election, and in 2015 he won the Foreign Commentator of the Year Award. His most recent book is The Speech: The Story Behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Dream. His previous books include Who Are We — and Should it Matter in the Twenty-First Century?, Stranger in a Strange Land: Encounters in the Disunited States, and No Place Like Home: A Black Briton's Journey through the American South. Formerly the Belle Zeller Visiting Professor of public policy and social administration at Brooklyn College, CUNY, he has two honorary degrees from British universities.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 1, 2016
    Guardian journalist Younge (The Speech) chronicles the shooting deaths of 10 children and teens on a random Saturday in 2013 to illustrate the capriciousness of gun violence in America. The circumstances vary: one child is a victim of a domestic dispute; two were shot by friends playing with firearms; one was a known gang leader. While one shooting “tore at the very fabric of tight-knit community,” another elicited only an 81-word mention in the newspaper. Younge explores each incident in terms of its location, from the San Jose, Calif., enclave of the Nuestra Familia gang to rural Marlette, Mich., where hunting is popular. He discusses the flawed gun control narratives that require the “elevation and canonization of ‘the worthy victim’ ” to engage the public’s sympathy, and critiques the NRA’s lobbying practices as corrupt. He further castigates the entrenched racism and poverty that keep young African-Americans mired in a cycle of violence. Drawing from insights from community organizers and scholarship on violence, economics, and psychology, Younge provides nuance and context to a polarizing issue. The personal touches, however, are most affecting, as Younge pieces together each story from news reports and interviews with friends and family, weaving a tragic narrative of wasted potential. Agent: Frances Coady, Aragi. (Oct.)

    This review has been corrected to reflect the correct agent for the book.

  • Kirkus

    The tragic stories of 10 kids killed by gunfire.In this heart-rending, beautifully crafted book, Guardian editor at large Younge (The Speech: The Story Behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Dream, 2013, etc.) explores the least-known but most common form of American gun violence involving children and teenagers--not mass school shootings but single, isolated killings, an average of seven daily, in neighborhoods across the country. For 18 months, he investigated the lives of victims between the ages of 9 and 19 who were shot dead on an arbitrarily selected date (Nov. 23, 2013) in varying circumstances: while opening a door, from a passing car, while walking home at 1 a.m. from a McDonald's, while playing with a gun with a friend. The victims are all poor, working-class males (seven black, two Hispanic, one white) who made poor decisions in "a brutalizing, unforgiving environment." In Younge's empathetic telling, they are seen as vulnerable children, some innocent, some not so, all loved by their families. The victims include Tyshon Anderson, 18, a Chicago gang member; Samuel Brightmon, 16, a trusting black kid caught in random gunfire in Dallas; Edwin Rajo, 16, an impulsive Honduran whose girlfriend did not realize there was a bullet in the gun's chamber; and Tyler Dunn, 11, slain accidentally during rural Michigan's hunting season. The author discusses such factors as the availability of guns, the challenges of parenting in poor neighborhoods, and the development of adolescent brains. "When it comes to protecting children around guns, parents are flawed and laws are clearly inadequate," he writes. Younge says fear of gun violence in impoverished areas is such that one mother was happy her 14-year-old son was locked up--"it was safer for him to be incarcerated than to live in the neighborhood." Important, deeply affecting, and certain to alarm readers who care about the lives of children in a gun-ridden society. COPYRIGHT(1) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from September 15, 2016

    During 24 hours in November 2013, ten people ages nine to 19 were shot and killed, not counting any suicides, which Younge (No Place Like Home) indicates were little reported. All boys, the youth include two murdered by friends playing with guns, one by the father of his half brother, and some whose attackers and motives are unknown. A British journalist of Barbadian descent who lived in the United States for 12 years, Younge brings a clear-eyed perspective to this fraught topic. He mourns and is angry but tempers his emotional response, judiciously and compellingly sharing pertinent realities, including the ubiquity of recognition by black parents that their child might die and an injustice known to families of color: the perceived moral character of a victim affects the public assessment of the "wrongness" of the killing. Younge also corrects misperceptions of black culture that inform the dangerous idea that the black community is rife with unfit parents and that "black-on-black" crime is a special category. VERDICT A heartrending compendium of the lives of American children taken by guns on an average day. Gripping and eloquent yet challenging in the brutality of its subject, this important book calls for empathy and should be widely read. A film adaptation starring David Oyelowo is in development.--Janet Ingraham Dwyer, State Lib. of Ohio, Columbus

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives
Gary Younge
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