Review: Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge

Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge

Another Day in the Death of America chronicles the short lives of 10 youth in America who were shot and killed on November 23, 2013. British author, Gary Younge, picked that date arbitrarily to fit his schedule, but his intent was to highlight the volume of gun violence in America. This book isn’t outwardly political, but it is so by the nature of the content in the book. In addition to sharing the stories about the children killed on that date, Younge shares some staggering statistics and policy issues with American gun control – as compared to other developed nations throughout the world.

This book is hard to read. I had to take a long break in the middle, so that I wouldn’t become too jaded or emotional upset by the content. The deaths described in this book aren’t entirely what you would expect. Not all of these kids were involved in inner-city gang violence. In addition, the family circumstances don’t necessary match what you would potentially expect based on stereotypes either.

Younge has arranged the book in chronological order based on the time of death, and the 24-hours selected are from early morning to early morning instead of matching up exactly to the calendar. In most cases, the chapters feature content from interviews with family and friends. In some cases, the families were not willing to participate, and then he’s pulled what he could from news sources alone. But as the book points out, not all gun murders are even reported.

I hesitate to say that I enjoyed reading this book, but I am glad I read it. It’s an outsider view of gun violence in America, and I think it should be required reading for politicians and perhaps even high school or college students. We have a problem in this country, and it isn’t only with mass shootings like Sandy Hook.

Rating: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher at BEA 2016 in exchange for an honest review. This fact does not in any way impact my thoughts/feelings about the book.

Another Day in the Death of America
Gary Younge
Non-Fiction
Nation Books
October 4, 2016
ARC
304

On an average day in America, seven children and teens will be shot dead. In Another Day in the Death of America, award-winning journalist Gary Younge tells the stories of the lives lost during one such day. It could have been any day, but he chose November 23, 2013. Black, white, and Latino, aged nine to nineteen, they fell at sleepovers, on street corners, in stairwells, and on their own doorsteps. From the rural Midwest to the barrios of Texas, the narrative crisscrosses the country over a period of twenty-four hours to reveal the full human stories behind the gun-violence statistics and the brief mentions in local papers of lives lost.

This powerful and moving work puts a human face—a child’s face—on the “collateral damage” of gun deaths across the country. This is not a book about gun control, but about what happens in a country where it does not exist. What emerges in these pages is a searing and urgent portrait of youth, family, and firearms in America today.

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