This review is adapted from an original piece published in the Centre’s journal Ethnicity and Race in a Changing World.
Book review: Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-Five Years Among the Poorest Children in America by Jonathan Kozol (Crown Publishers: New York 2012)
Review by Jo Manby
This book is evidence of the kind of enduring, personal relationship that an ethnographer or documentarist can build up within a community if they invest their time and open their hearts to those around them.
Jonathan Kozol has been working with children in inner-city schools in the United States for almost fifty years. Over several years, he has been in conversation with a group of children from one of its poorest urban neighbourhoods. He begins his story – the story of these children – with a picture of New York City’s poor and homeless people on Christmas Eve 1985, thousands of them ‘packed into decrepit, drug-infested shelters, most of which were old hotels situated in the middle of Manhattan’ (p.3).