Non-fiction book of the month: Gary Younge's Another Day in the Death of America(34 Posts)
Our non-fiction Book of the Month for June is Another Day in the Death of America, Guardian journalist Gary Younge's very relevant and human account of gun violence in the US.
In the book, Younge portrays the lives and deaths of 10 American young people who were killed by guns in the space of 24 hours, and talks to the people (often the parents) who were affected. These intimate stories range from nine-year-old Jaiden, shot in suburban Ohio by his mother's ex-boyfriend, to 18-year-old Tyshon, killed in a gang-related incident in South Side Chicago.
Another Day in the Death of America is an emotive yet level-headed account of the impact of severely lacking gun control – on families, the safety of children worldwide, and cultural divisions in the US. It lays bare the open wound of gun violence for all to see, and proves to be both heart-shattering and compulsive reading.
You don't have to win a copy to share your thoughts about Another Day in the Death of America on this discussion thread. Gary will be answering your questions on the book and his work, so ask yours by Friday 28 July. We'll post his answers up in mid-August.
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A copy of this arrived this morning. Thank you very much, I'm sure it'll be a fascinating read.
Arrived today, thank you. Off to America in the morning!
Mine arrived this morning - thank you!
A copy arrived this morning - I didn't know I had won one - thank you!
I will start reading it as soon as I finish the novel I halfway through.
My copy arrived yesterday - will be reading it very soon.Thank you.
Mine's arrived too, and I didn't know I'd won one - looking forward to it - I like Gary's journalism.
I've just finished this (stayed up late to do so), and boy is it a sobering read. Quite a depressing one as well. It's a shame that the NRA, and people who support them, probably will never read this, and they should. They should see the devastation that gun crime causes families, friends and societies in which these CHILDREN lived. It's a brilliant book which left me ultimately frustrated and very sad. 10 senseless deaths in 24 hours. What a world we live in.
I'm reading it on holiday - read the first half in one sitting. Fascinated by GY's research and appalled by the incidents themselves.
Sobering and depressing as you say ( I'm the mum of 2 young men myself)
Really interesting and enlightening though about attitudes and myths surrounding race and crime.
Must crack on with the rest of it now.
Thank you for my copy. I read it in three sittings, and it was a compulsive read. Depressing and unbearably sad at times - how could it not be? - but always interesting and thought-provoking. I've a feeling this book will live with me. Some of the back stories of the boys who died are chilling. Several had tributes in their bedrooms or on their social media to good friends who'd lost their own lives to gun violence before them. Though there were no photographs of the lost boys, the pen portraits were so well drawn I could picture them clearly. The hint of peach fuzz, the skin like watered-down milk, the pout.
I'd like to ask Gary: If he were the US president, what one law would he bring in or change first to stem the flow of gun violence?
I have only read the first three chapters but the first one about the youngest victim, Jaidan, had me in tears.
It is going to be tough-going reading this but so far it is very insightful into the level of gun crime in the States and how it affects the loved ones of the victims.
Gary - I have just been reading about so many of the families believing gun deaths are as 'unfortunate' and understood as car accidents. I just can't get my head around this and the fact they don't believe controlling gun ownership would help. Why do you think this is?
Could it be that they have grown up around it and can't imagine there not being guns in the same way today's youngsters can't imagine life without mobile phones - it is just normal to them?
I have been very busy recently but I hope to read some more before the deadline for questions.
Thank you for the opportunity to read this book.
It's a very well written, heartbreaking read and one that will stay with me for some time. Each chapter tells the story of another child killed by a gun on the same day in America. I wavered between not wanting to read any more because it was too sad and needing to continue reading because I wanted to know the children's stories.
A book I will be recommending.
I have now read a couple more chapters and was surprised to find that two of the deaths so far have been accidents. It again makes it so shocking that children can get their hands on guns so easily with devasting consequences.
I have another question for Gary: Was it a concious decision not to show photos of the victims you wrote about or was it for legal reasons or for the sake of the families?
I wondered if it may also be so Americans reading it are more likely to picture it being their child instead if there is no visual images of the actual victim and that this maybe change the minds of those that are pro-gun.
I am very interested in reading your reply to this - thank you so much.
Ooh I have this already on my kindle. I had to stop reading part way through due to work commitments so will need to go back to this before the webchat
Following on from my previous comment:
I have just read back over the other post and there must be different issues of the book as Daisymaybe said there are hand drawn portraits of the victims but they aren't in the edition I have.
Sorry, voyager50, I can see that I''ve caused this confusion! I used pen portrait to mean that the author has just described the boys, which is just one of the definitions of pen portrait. There aren't any actual pictures of them.
Thanks Daisymabe for explaining this to me - I hadn't heard that definition of pen portraits before!!
Thank you for sending me a copy of this book. It is absolutely harrowing. Full of stories of needless deaths, so sadly all from just one 24 hour period in the US.
The book is wonderfully written, with clear and fair portrayals of the victims, their families and their circumstances. There is no judgement of those caught up in the violence, and yet neither does it sensationalise what has happened. Yet in each case I was just ripped apart - accidental deaths and murders alike were all senseless and without purpose. The poverty and unfairness and segregation contributing to the downward spirals just awful. And the lobbyists shutting down discussions and contributing to ongoing gun violence just beggars belief.
I will be recommending this book, yet those that most need to read and understand it (the NRA and their aupporters) will ignore it.
Many thanks to Mumsnet for a copy of this book.
An incredibly well researched and sensitively written book illustrating the shocking impact of mindless gun violence on young American lives and their families. The book specifically narrates how the lives of 10 youngsters, all aged 18 and under, came to an abrupt end when they were gunned down, all within a random 24-hour period. Finding out in detail the circumstances that lead to the deaths of these young human beings proves to be harrowing reading. Some die due to an accident, some are targeted, but all their deaths are unnecessary, and without the availability of guns, all their deaths could and would have been prevented. And that is ultimately the point the author is making, how so many lives, and in particular young lives, are needlessly lost in America due the absence of stringent gun control laws. As a British citizen working in America, the author is an outsider looking in and seeing the obvious. The fact that anyone can easily purchase a gun almost anywhere in America. And the relative simplicity of children getting hold of guns being a palpable recipe for disaster.
The tragedy of the Dunblane school massacre had to happen before Britain woke up. However, despite the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, and countless, countless others, America continues to remain docile. And as much as we wish that books like this will lead to American policy makers to do something constructive (i.e. initiating a nationwide ban on guns) to tackle the problem, something tells us that it will continue to fall on deaf ears. It’s as if corporations like the NRA own America - what they say goes, and dare anyone think of standing up to them. But something has to give. And America needs courageous publications like this tackling the issue head on.
My question for author Gary Younge:- While researching this book, was there a fear that you would enter gang-territories and possibly put a target on your back for enquiring about and investigating the shootings? Or be subject to abuse for 'sticking your nose' in other people's personal circumstances?
This is such a sad and sobering book. I was grateful for my copy as to be honest it is not the sort of thing I would have picked up as a holiday read. Unfortunately I echo several others' comments that the people who need to read this book probably won't. It makes me very glad that I don't bring up my three sons in America - I know there are problems here and the recent acid attacks add a whole new area for concern but they seem as nothing compared to the US. I have some understanding of why and how guns became such a central part of US society but my question for Gary is principally what can be done now to change things?
I can't say enjoyed this book but it was enlightening, terrifying and harrowing. It was hard to start this book as I knew it would bring so much emotion forward with these stories but what was almost as sad as the loss of life was the resignation that it was just life and to be expected for some. I could not imagine living in a country like that. Clearly Gary Young spent a great deal of time researching and investigating to provide as much detail as possible I just wish it would be read by those who could make an impact
Only read the first chapter but intend to spend more time over the next week. It's well researched and captures the feelings of the families.
Just wondering when Gary's answers will be on here?
Hi voyager50 - I'll check with Gary/the publisher now. Thanks!
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