Non-fiction book of the month: Another Day in the Death of America
Gary Younge's vital and passionate portrayal of the effects of the lack of gun control in America uncovers the very human side to 10 gun-related tragedies and its implications for society as a whole
About the book
From the outset, Gary Younge makes us aware of his objective in writing this book – “to put a human face – a child's face – on the 'collateral damage' of gun violence in America”. What follows is just that – the portraits of the American children who were killed by guns in the space of 24 hours. On an average day in America, seven children are killed as a result of gun-related incidents. On the otherwise unremarkable day that Gary picks at random, 23 November 2013, the head count was 10.
In Another Day in the Death of America, Younge looks at the circumstances which lead to these tragic events, and talks to the people (often the parents) who were affected. These intimate stories range from nine-year-old Jaiden, shot in a suburban cul-de-sac in central Ohio by his mother's ex-boyfriend, to 18-year-old Tyshon, killed in a gang-related incident in South Side Chicago.
Horrific events on a large scale often get our attention – and so they should. However, in this book, Younge draws our focus to the lesser-reported but no less tragic events – deaths that have, somehow, become banal. In this immensely relevant book, while he specifically examines the impact of gun law on American society, Younge uses this premise to make hard-hitting universal comparisons – in Britain as well as the rest of the world.
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, that people with the power to change the future of such crime would rather not acknowledge, and proves to be both heart-shattering and compulsive reading.
What the critics say
“Sad, beautifully written and absolutely of the moment.” – Andrew Marr, New Statesman
“A righteous challenge to the big insanities of American society: gun ubiquity, racism, poverty… all the more daring and subversive for its controlled and mannered tone as it breaks the unwritten law: thou shall not humanize the victims of this ongoing carnage.” – Irvine Welsh
“Younge has provided us with a beautifully told and empathic account that wrenches at the heart even as it continues to engage the brain.” – Gillian Slovo, author of Ten Days
“Could not be more timely.” – The Guardian
About the author
Gary Younge is an award-winning journalist for The Guardian and The Nation magazine in the US. He was posted to the US for The Guardian for 12 years before returning to London in 2015. Younge's previous books include The Speech, Who Are We?, Stranger in a Strange Land and No Place Like Home. Formerly the Belle Zeller Visiting Professor for Public Policy and Social Administration at Brooklyn College, CUNY, he is also the Alfred Knobler Fellow for The Nation Institute.
We have 50 copies of Another Day in the Death of America to give away. If you'd like to be allocated a copy and agree to join the discussion thread, apply by filling in the form below by end of day, Monday 19 June.