Publisher Annotation: Michael Alexander Allen, baby cousin of an extended family, was first arrested at fifteen for an attempted carjacking. Tried as an adult and sentenced to thirteen years, Michael served eleven. Three years after his release, he was shot and killed. Why? Why did this gifted young man, who dreamed of being a firefighter and a writer, end up dead? Why did he languish in prison? And why at fifteen was he in an alley in South Central LA, holding a gun while trying to steal someone?s car? (3zsCuz(3y smeans both (3zscousin(3y sand (3zsbecause.(3y sDanielle Allen grew up with Michael and, in 2006 when Michael got out of prison, was cousin-on-duty, shouldering the responsibility to support his fresh start while juggling the demands of her own promising academic career. In this Ellisonian story of a young African American man?s coming-of-age in late twentieth-century America, and of the family who will always love Michael, we learn how we lost a generation. 256pp., 35K
Michael's mother, who tried to stabilize her family via marriage and transplantation across country for work, ends up getting caught up in the maelstrom. This is both a personal and political recounting, a must read for anyone who supports Black Lives Matter, and even more critical for those who are on the fence.
Quotes: "Here is one of the differences between my hell in prison and Dante's Inferno. The souls in the Inferno are called by name."
"Deterrence dehumanizes. It directs at the individual the full hate that society understandably bears towards an aggregate phenomenon."
"Once gangs turn predatory, they often prey on their own communities. Like taxing authorities, they come to see their communities as a source of extractable revenue."
"There were few rewards for virtue when it briefly flashed in his unforgiving world."