Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Can't wait to read! All God's Children: The Bosket Family and the American Tradition of Violence by Fox Butterfield

This is really two books in one, though they are tied together seamlessly. On the one hand, the book is a fascinating and detailed true crime study of Willie Bosket, New York State's most notorious criminal and considered to be their most violent and dangerous prison inmate. On the other hand it's a study of the origins of violence in America.

Amazingly, the author was able to trace Willie Bosket's ancestry back to his slave ancestors, and in so doing trace the escalating evolution of violence and criminality in each succeeding generation of the Bosket family. The book begins in pre-Revolutionary times with a study of white violence in the region of North Carolina where Willie's ancestors were enslaved. The author persuasively argues that the primary origin of black violence is the tradition of white violence that was transferred to them from their former slave owners.

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