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American Youth is a controlled, essential, and powerful tale of a teenager in southern New England who is confronted by a terrible moral dilemma following a firearms accident in his home. This tragedy earns him the admiration of a sinister gang of boys at his school and a girl associated with them. Set in a town riven by social and ideological tensions–an old rural culture in conflict with newcomers–this is a classic portrait of a young man struggling with the idea of identity and responsibility in an America ill at ease with itself.