Fire In The Ashes

Twenty-Five Years Among the Poorest Children in America

by Jonathan Kozol


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” that housed the homeless in Manhattan. He tells their stories while also educating us on the cultural, social, economic, and political reasons behind the circumstances they find themselves in. Yes, these mainly Black and Latino children have been “left behind” by most of society, there are some happy endings. A couple are able to escape geographically. A few are able to escape educationally.


The best thing about Kozol’s books is that he isn’t just an impartial observer. He does his best to help those who need and want it and has even set up a foundation to help the families in his books. I recommend Fire In The Ashes to anyone with an interest in education and the plight of poor children in this country.

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