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Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-Five Years Among the Poorest Children in America

Fire in the Ashes Twenty Five Years Among the Poorest Children in America In this powerful and culminating work about a group of inner city children he has known for many years Jonathan Kozol returns to the scene of his prize winning books Rachel and Her Children and Amazi

  • Title: Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-Five Years Among the Poorest Children in America
  • Author: Jonathan Kozol
  • ISBN: 9781400052462
  • Page: 393
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In this powerful and culminating work about a group of inner city children he has known for many years, Jonathan Kozol returns to the scene of his prize winning books Rachel and Her Children and Amazing Grace, and to the children he has vividly portrayed, to share with us their fascinating journeys and unexpected victories as they grow into adulthood For nearly fifty In this powerful and culminating work about a group of inner city children he has known for many years, Jonathan Kozol returns to the scene of his prize winning books Rachel and Her Children and Amazing Grace, and to the children he has vividly portrayed, to share with us their fascinating journeys and unexpected victories as they grow into adulthood For nearly fifty years Jonathan has pricked the conscience of his readers by laying bare the savage inequalities inflicted upon children for no reason but the accident of being born to poverty within a wealthy nation A winner of the National Book Award, the Robert F Kennedy Book Award, and countless other honors, he has persistently crossed the lines of class and race, first as a teacher, then as the author of tender and heart breaking books about the children he has called the outcasts of our nation s ingenuity But Jonathan is not a distant and detached reporter His own life has been radically transformed by the children who have trusted and befriended him Never has this intimate acquaintance with his subjects been apparent, or stirring, than in Fire in the Ashes, as Jonathan tells the stories of young men and women who have come of age in one of the most destitute communities of the United States Some of them never do recover from the battering they undergo in their early years, but many battle back with fierce and, often, jubilant determination to overcome the formidable obstacles they face As we watch these glorious children grow into the fullness of a healthy and contributive maturity, they ignite a flame of hope, not only for themselves, but for our society The urgent issues that confront our urban schools a devastating race gap, a pathological regime of obsessive testing and drilling students for exams instead of giving them the rich curriculum that excites a love of learning are interwoven through these stories Why certain children rise above it all, graduate from high school and do well in college, while others are defeated by the time they enter adolescence, lies at the essence of this work Jonathan Kozol is the author of Death at an Early Age, Savage Inequalities, and other books on children and their education He has been called today s most eloquent spokesman for America s disenfranchised But he believes young people speak most eloquently for themselves and in this book, so full of the vitality and spontaneity of youth, we hear their testimony.

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    1 thought on “Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-Five Years Among the Poorest Children in America

    1. It takes all the way to the Epilogue to hear Kozol’s message that he has been honing through 25 years of interviews with children of urban poverty: “Charity and chance and narrow selectivity are not the way to educate the children of a genuine democracy.” I agree.Unfortunately, this comes after of book of revisiting many children he has introduced to us over the past several decades, some with sad and fully expected derailments and others like “Pineapple” and “Jeremy” who have achi [...]

    2. Jonathan Kozol follows the lives of children he met 10-20 years ago living in homeless shelters or poor neighborhoods in New York. These stories alternate between inspirational and heartbreaking, but it's mostly just heartbreaking. It shouldn't be surprising, but children who spend their formative years hungry and homeless in poor, violent neighborhoods with terrible schools often do not turn out to be healthy, well-adjusted adults. It could easily seem exploitative to write about these children [...]

    3. True equality means equal opportunities and safety for all, and a book like this is a bit unique in that it doesn’t just look at inequalities but also examines the long-term effects of attempts at intervening and helping people who basically got the short end of the stick. Kozol succeeds quite well in analyzing what has worked and what hasn’t in the Bronx where a large part of his social justice career has been.The chapters each focus on a different child, although a couple of children get t [...]

    4. This is truly an inspirational book which confirms, that by helping one, this can radiate to many; having a long term beneficial effect for all.We follow the lives of a few people from the Bronx in New York City. Some overcome the poverty, the poor education, and the crime and drug culture to rise up and above. We also see some, who sadly, do not make it. They are the victims of both themselves and their harsh living environment. In this predatory environment it is easy for the government to avo [...]

    5. Overall, a very interesting look on how the poor in America are unable to get a solid education. Kozol introduces us to a number of children who grew up in a part of the Bronx, NY, which is considered the poorest community in the US, and does a nice job telling their stories. The important things that I learned from this book (in no particular order) are: (1) success is relative and needs to celebrated as such; (2) the kids who "make it" are the exception rather than the norm, and each one had s [...]

    6. Jonathan Kozol breaks my heart every time I open one of his books. Who knew the suffering children are experiencing in homes in the poorest areas of our country? Who knew how schools, the last hope of many, are giving up on these children? Who knew?Kozol revisits children he has run across in his work in the schools in the past forty years. For many of these children, life has only gotten more difficult and many of these stories end tragically, with prison time and even in death. But there are h [...]

    7. I have been a fan of Jonathan Kozol and his work since I read Savage Inequalities in college, and I was thrilled to be able to review an ARC of his newest book, exploring the intersection of race, poverty, and childhood in the South Bronx, illustrated by children and families near and dear to Kozol's heart. The book, which is a compilation of about a dozen stories, each one focusing on a different child or family, but framed under the general narrative of the effect of poverty and racism on educ [...]

    8. I've read a selection from Kozol's book The Shame of the Nation in an ENGL 101 anthology from which I teach. It's a powerful excerpt, so I figured that since I've been tasked with teaching a new class fall 2016, ENGL 100, I would do a couple of non-fiction journalism/essay-type books to get my students reading more and engaged with big topics.Fire in the Ashes was the best book I found to really jump into Kozol's work. It covers from 1985 to 2012. Kozol follows and does his best to keep in conta [...]

    9. I often like to read the books written by social activists Jonathan Kozol at the start of a new school year--partly for inspiration, partly to remind me why I am so dedicated to the teaching profession, and partly to marvel at how lucky I have been. This book has been waiting on one of my side tables for several months now. I don't know what kept me from reading it--maybe fear that he'd return to the children to which he had introduced his readers in earlier books and find that there were few su [...]

    10. In this book you see the tremendous amount of caring, cost and nurturing it takes to help a child who has lived in and around trauma acquire the skills to leave poverty behind. The children profiled in this book have seen family members and neighbors die through violence, drugs and suicide. They have been hungry and bullied by others suffering the same social conditions. They have loyalty to family, guilt for having opportunities. Some waver between confidence and doubt. I would imagine their li [...]

    11. I'm something of a sociology buff. I enjoy hearing about other people's lives, journeys, struggles, etc without being bombarded with statistics and studies. Jonathan Kozol is a great chronicler of the lives of impoverished children as evidenced in his bestselling book, Savage Inequalities.Kozol spent time in a neighborhood in the Bronx, known to be one of the poorest urban areas in the country. He came to know several families, most who were relocated there after the closing of several "hotels" [...]

    12. This was a fascinating account of disfranchised kids living in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the United States. It is a heartbreaking and eye-opening view of the lives that are affected by the lack of care the government provides them.The author first met most of these children twenty-five years ago, and he begins his accounts at the moment of the first meeting, continuing on until adulthood. He focuses first on the children who weren’t able to succeed, to get past the deficiencies they [...]

    13. This book will be most appreciated by readers familiar with Kozol's other works, particularly titles relating to the children and families he has come to know at St. Ann's. Twenty-five years after beginning to follow the lives of these impoverished children, the author offers updated findings. He concludes that the children who have done well as adults have had something special: someone who intervened in their lives. Powerful and moving.

    14. This story chronicles the lives of those families who lived in poverty in or near the Martinique, a building in the South area of the Bronx borough in New York City. It was a former hotel, once heralded for its splendor and design, but later used by the city as a short-term shelter for families on public aid. The squalor of the hotel and the dangers of lead paint and other toxic pollutants that families were exposed to were horrific. And if that weren't bad enough the gangs, drug dealers, and ot [...]

    15. Jonathan Kozol is an activist on issues surrounding poverty and education in urban America. I first heard of him because my best friend joined Teach for America after being inspired by his book Savage Inequalities. I have not read his earlier books (there are 5 I believe), but think they were more focused on issues surrounding public education – data, policy, etc. This book is more personal; almost a retrospective – he looks back on families he has written about and spent time with over many [...]

    16. I've been wanting to read Kozol for a long time, but was intimidated for some reasonI think I thought Savage Inequalities might be a dense, academic, footnote-ridden tome that would improve me but not be too enjoyable in the reading. I grabbed Fire in the Ashes as an ARC at ALA last summer, and just pulled it off my shelf in between novels. It's a slightly odd place to start reading Kozol, since it's a retrospective on his lifetime of work and the relationships he's developed over the course of [...]

    17. I first read Kozol’s work Amazing Grace as a college prerequisite. Amazingly, despite much consternation over having to read something so depressing over summer break, I came to see the importance of his heartbreaking chronicles of the poor and disenfranchised living in the South Bronx. While Savage Inequalities remains my favorite Kozol work, one which prompted me to a career in education, I never stopped wondering about the people in Mott Haven that I learned about in Kozol’s Amazing Grace [...]

    18. I first read Jonathan Kozol when I was in college. I minored in sociology and in one of my classes, we read his book Savage Inequalities, which is about the worst school systems in the country. I don't necessarily mean "worst" in terms of students there or teachers and staff. These schools were basically in the poorest sections of various towns. The one that stuck with me in the almost 10 years since I took the class is the one where the roof was in such bad shape that there would be a waterfall [...]

    19. Jonathan Kozol takes a look back at the lives of children he has known for years that either successfully pulled themselves out of the hardships surrounding them or succumbed to the forces beyond their control. He provides commentary on people who just could not shake the addictions, anger, and depressions of their life of poverty and failed to overcome it. For some reason, he noted that women have more resilience than men although he doesn't offer an explanation of why. Then he shares the happy [...]

    20. Another reviewer picked up on the same passage near the end of the book that I wanted to highlight: "Charity and chance and narrow selectivity are not the way to educate the children of a genuine democracy."Anyone who would dare to paint the poorest Americans with a broad brush -- as lulled into complacency and laziness by the welfare system, for example -- needs to read Kozol's books. There are children in Fire in the Ashes who make it out of the South Bronx and go to college, and there are oth [...]

    21. The author looks back on several of the children and adults he has known for many years in the South Bronx, people who are usually denigrated or demonized when not ignored entirely. His gift, as always, is in making plain the full humanity and worth of marginalized people, people who have become his friends but whom he never sentimentalizes. In many ways it is a meditation on what allows some children to escape their poverty-stricken, violent neighborhood, while others self-destruct even when gi [...]

    22. A One-Minute Review“Twenty-five years among the poorest children in America” is the subtitle and excellent description of Fire in the Ashes, an exposé about America’s impoverished children by writer and activist Jonathan Kozol. After a lifetime of working with children from America’s poorest neighbourhoods, Kozol returns to New York City to reconnect with those he met years ago. The haven of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church and The Martinique, an infamous welfare hotel, are the geographic p [...]

    23. The growing under-class of disenfranchised poor has long been a hidden bruise on the face of America of which few have dared to speak. Fire In the Ashes dares not only to give voice to a few such people, but to allow an entire generation to tell its stories.This book is a look into the long term effects of poverty, neglect, and social ambivalence on a people, and the ways in which they have overcome or been overcome by their circumstances.When reading this book it becomes glaringly apparent that [...]

    24. This book made me angry and yet sad at the same time. I feel like we are leaving whole segments of our country behind and it feels as though we are doing it deliberately. These people don't matter because they are brown and black or ethnic and are not somehow deserving of the same benefits as the whites that live in areas just around the corner from the areas the children in this book lived. The schools are awful, the housing substandard and yet HUD does nothing. Society looks down on people who [...]

    25. Jonathan Kozol is the inspiration behind many of my career aspirations. Because of deep, sensitive work like his, I find it impossible to turn a blind eye to the injustices in place for those who weren't as fortunate as I was in terms of the birth lottery. I could not put this book down and find myself just truly rooting for the people that Kozol has come to be so close with and feel more driven than ever to make a difference for the young individuals in our nation who deserve a fighting chance [...]

    26. Why are academics liberal? Maybe because we read books like this. I dare anyone to read it and walk away thinking that children from neighborhoods like the one described here in the South Bronx just need to try harder to succeed at school and enter the U.S. economy seamlessly. I'd like to add that my jaw dropped at the description of the Rev. Martha Overall, Episcopal priest at St. Anne's, whose generosity, ferocity, attention, and love provided one of the few bright spots in the lives of many o [...]

    27. Had to create a new shelf for this one --- "too awful to finish". It sounds very interesting and I thought I would love it. and it just might be a good book, BUT I cannot stand the author's writing. I'm not even sure how to describe it or exactly what irritates me so much. he's too perky, he uses far too many quotes with little actual description of things. That's part of it. I only read 2 chapters and was dreading reading the entire thing. Thus, it is a huge relief-- even if it comes with immen [...]

    28. Took me awhile to get through but well worth the read especially working in education. While we have some low income schools in my district I don't think we know poverty like this. We also have pretty high quality public education. You get to follow the lives of a few select kids over their educational journeys. It's not heartbreaking the obstacles they have to overcome and also inspiring when some break through. The narrator is like a godparent to these kids. Well done!

    29. Once again, I can't believe I was enjoying my happy little oblivious childhood in the 1980's when all this awfulness was going down at the Martinique / the Bronx. This book was definitely educational, eye opening, and depressing. I'm glad I read it, but I can't say it was a total page-turner that sucked me in and kept my interest the entire time. Some stories were more interesting than others.

    30. Kozol writes true stories of friends he made in the inner city. I admire his ability to keep in touch with people over the decades (without, apparently, the ease of Facebook). The way schools have failed these children, and the sad result, make me even more committed to my work as a public school teacher. Not all the stories are sad. Some have truly happy endings.

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