SHORTLISTED FOR THE ORWELL PRIZE, THE JHALAK PRIZE, THE CWA GOLD DAGGER FOR NON-FICTION AND THE BREAD AND ROSES AWARD
Saturday, 23rd November 2013. It was just another day in America. And as befits an unremarkable day, ten children and teens were killed by gunfire. Far from being considered newsworthy, these everyday fatalities are simply a banal fact.
The youngest was nine; the oldest nineteen. None made the news. There was no outrage at their passing. It was simply a day like any other day. Gary Younge picked it at random, searched for the families of these children and here, tells their stories. Another Day in the Death of America explores the way these children lived and lost their short lives, offering a searing portrait of the vulnerability of youth in contemporary America.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Choosing his day at random, journalist Gary Younge aims to document an average day of gun violence in America by investigating tories surrounding the largely unreported deaths of ten children across eight states. Despite the horror and often unspeakable violence, Younge manages to present the victims’ stories with a level-headed calm. His analysis is thorough and his sensitivity in drawing staggeringly honest words from bereaved families is hugely admirable. This is a powerful, important book.
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. This review has been corrected to reflect the correct agent for the book.