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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 both First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama–long before he became known as a hero to television and film viewers from talk shows, 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. “If you wonder how a fourteen-year-old can shoot another child his own age in the head and then go home to dinner,” Canada writes, “you need to know you don’t get there in a day, or week, or month. It takes years of preparation to be willing to commit murder, to be willing to kill or die for a corner, a color, or a leather jacket.”
“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. - New York Times Book Review
“A slim, revealing volume that should be required reading for anyone who was ever a child, for anyone who has ever negotiated the complicated hierarchy of ‘rep’ and revenge on city streets.” - Boston Globe