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The book is badly dated. The content described poverty in the 1990's and is mostly the story of one or two adults and a few teenagers living in NYC. It is not a story of children living in poverty.
I think this book would have had much more of an impact if I'd read it back in 1995 when it was first published. The cold sad truth is that these stories are now all-too-familiar in many impoverished neighborhoods around our nation including in my own city of Birmingham, Alabama. Although I have not studied the statistics, my gut tells me that the income gap between the poorest poor and the richest rich in New York City has widened substantially since this book was written. The New York Times, however, reported just this year about the number of middle class professionals, many of them white, moving into the neighborhoods described in Jonathan Kozol's book. Apparently the attraction is affordable real estate, an increasingly safe neighborhood where major crime has plummeted over the past 20 years, and a reasonable commute to jobs in Manhatten. I'm pleased to hear that the reputation of the neighborhood is changing for what appears to be the better but I would be very interested in a follow up book on the children highlighted in "Amazing Grace." Where are they today and have those precious children benefited from the enhancements and improvements in their neighborhood? My prayers may have already been answered as Kozol's newest book, Fire in the Ashes, which was published in August 2012 does just that.