A new edition, including the story of the founding of the Harlem Children’s Zone
Long before the avalanche of praise for his work—from Oprah Winfrey, from President Bill Clinton, from President Barack Obama—long before he became known for his talk show appearances, Members Project spots, and documentaries like Waiting for “Superman”, Geoffrey Canada was a small boy growing up scared on the mean streets of the South Bronx. His childhood world was one where “sidewalk boys” learned the codes of the block and were ranked through the rituals of fist, stick, and knife. Then the streets changed, and the stakes got even higher. In his candid and riveting memoir, Canada relives a childhood in which violence stalked every street corner.
Canada knows the world of inner-city children intimately, for he grew up in some of the most dangerous areas of the Bronx. As a young child, he learned that only those who can fight will survive. When he reached adolescence, the knife was the weapon of choice, but for today's youth, which he calls ``the handgun generation,'' it is the pistol. Canada explains exactly what growing up in this war zone does to the psyche: fear, doubt and anger crowd the mind, driving out love, friendship and laughter. There is no post-traumatic stress syndrome, because there is no ``post.'' Greedy drug dealers and gun manufacturers, he says, by flooding the inner cities with their products, have made urban violence, which always existed, more deadly. He has a series of recommendations, rooted in his own experience as a child and as an adult, that are thoroughly convincing. A more powerful depiction of the tragic life of urban children and a more compelling plea to end ``America's war against itself'' cannot be imagined. 40,000 first printing; author tour.
Customer ReviewsSee All
As an advocate for court involved youth, this was so inspiring. I was on the brink of tears on more than one occasion while reading. Geoffrey Canada may not be Superman but he's one of the closest things to it. Definitely one of my all time heroes.