Death at an Early Age: The Destruction of the Hearts and Minds of Negro Children in the Boston Public Schools

Death at an Early Age The Destruction of the Hearts and Minds of Negro Children in the Boston Public Schools In this National Book Award winning book Kozol unflinchingly exposes the disturbing destruction of hearts and minds in the Boston public school A new Epilogue assesses the last years of the educat

  • Title: Death at an Early Age: The Destruction of the Hearts and Minds of Negro Children in the Boston Public Schools
  • Author: Jonathan Kozol
  • ISBN: 9780395078686
  • Page: 335
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In this National Book Award winning book, Kozol unflinchingly exposes the disturbing destruction of hearts and minds in the Boston public school A new Epilogue assesses the last 20 years of the educational system.

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      Published :2020-07-12T21:10:00+00:00

    About "Jonathan Kozol"

    1. Jonathan Kozol

      Jonathan Kozol is a non fiction writer, educator, and activist best known for his work towards reforming American public schools Upon graduating from Harvard, he received a Rhodes scholarship After returning to the United States, Kozol became a teacher in the Boston Public Schools, until he was fired for teaching a Langston Hughes poem Kozol has held two Guggenheim Fellowships, has twice been a fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation, and has also received fellowships from the Field and Ford Foundations Most recently, Kozol has founded and is running a non profit called Education Action The group is dedicated to grassroots organizing of teachers across the country who wish to push back against NCLB and the most recent Supreme Court decision on desegregation, and to help create a single, excellent, unified system of American public schools.


    1. Winner of the National Book Award in 1967, Jonathan Kozol’s Death at an Early Age: The Destruction of the Hearts and Minds of Negro Children in the Boston Public Schools is the story of a new teacher recruited to finish the year with a group of African-American students. It does not compare much to Boston Public, the FOX television drama created by David E. Kelley (2000-2004).The first word of the first chapter is “Stephen,” the name of one of Kozol’s students, and roughly the first half [...]

    2. It's hard to convey how powerful this book is. The author, Jonathan Kozol, taught for a short time as a white teacher in a predominantly black Boston city school in the 1960s. He was ultimately fired for introducing his fourth grade students to a Langston Hughes poem called "Ballad of the Landlord" which he read in an attempt to spark his class interest in something, anything " Kozol's first person narrative about his experience reads like Dickensian novel. The illegal but frequent beatings chil [...]

    3. I first read this book soon after it was published, when I was a second year teacher at a public junior high school in Vallejo, CA, that had about 10% black students. I had done my intern teaching at Berkeley (CA) High School during the volatile summer of 1967, to a mixed class, about half black, half white, and mixed from the 10 stage tracking system from track 1 (one step below honors) to mentally retarded (as it was then called). This book was an eye-opener and guide in my struggles to learn [...]

    4. a very outrageous account of a teacher in a segregation school in Boston in the 60's. If you hear on tv that the crime rate among African Americans is very high and you are angry about it, READ THIS BOOK. there are certain things you should be much angrier about.

    5. I first read this book when I was a beginning teacher. The book relates Kozel's experience teaching in the Roxbury section of Boston. The circumstances are unimaginable for this wealthy country, but he told the truth as he lived it and taught within it.

    6. Death At an Early Age was a hard book to finish, but even harder to put down.Substitute teacher Jonathan Kozol left his mark on literature by publishing this, his memoir of a year in Boston Public Schools. I'd never even heard of it until I sought out the African American lit section of a local bookstore. So I picked it up at a whim, thinking it would offer some novel insight into my own profession and the Civil Rights era.I came to find Death At an Early Age to be more alarming than enlightenin [...]

    7. Written during the Civil Rights Movement era, "Death at an Early Age" is the account of Jonothan Kozol who taught at a school in Roxbury, MA. As desegregation became the norm, so too did de facto segregation and inequality. Kozol respectfully and thoughtfully describes the situation on the ground as he saw and experienced it: stories of broken windows falling on children, four classes being taught in the basement simultaneously, and regular whippings of black students. Truthfully, I am both disa [...]

    8. I read this book as part of my teacher-training curriculum when pursuing my bachelor's degree in education. It relates the story of a young teacher's first year in the educational system in the late 60s in the inner-city schools of Boston, and as such it focuses a great deal on racial discrimination, bigotry from teachers, administrators, and politicians, and the recalcitrance with which the same individuals rebelled against desegregation. The book details the horrific conditions that poor black [...]

    9. Few books I've read were this shocking, angering and horrifying. Kozol paints a bleak and tragic portrait of a segregated Boston public school in the mid '60s. It's easy to approach this sort of material with a "that was a long time ago, things have changed" attitude. In this case, simply put, not much has changed. The Harvard Civil Rights Project has stated that the United States is twelve years into a process of resegregation. The inner city schools today are still, in many ways, perpetuating [...]

    10. I read this book when it first came out. I was appalled by the conditions he described in the Boston public school in which he taught, but not surprised, The poor children have always been denied decent funding for education. In a state of the State address to the Georgia legislature, then-governor Roy Barnes described the Hope Scholarship program as, "my anti-crime bill." Too bad more politicians don't speak out on the close knit connections between poverty, second-class education, and crime. K [...]

    11. I read this when I was pretty depressed about the nature of society. This, along with pedagogy of the oppressed, made me think that any kind of progressive movement must be bottom up. It must be support by the people it is "helping."Kozol's description of the little girl eating lead paint chips also made me cringed. I remember waking up in my dorm room 3am, pacing around the halls of my residence, wondering about what kind of world I lived in.

    12. Disturbing in that when people read this they'll think "Oh, but that was in the 60s. This stuff doesn't happen in schools anymore." I identified so many similarities between the school Kozol describes and the school district in which I teach. Huge disparities and hugely depressing, but important for people to read. (Though honestly I'll have to wait to read any more by him until this summer when the promise of the coming school year helps negate his sobering observations.)

    13. A depressing true story of the absolute decrepitude of the Boston school System in 1965, where black students were warehoused in condemnable buildings with no materials, no learning, hostile racist teachers, and no hope for the future, where their entire psyches were destroyed before they ever had a chance, preordained to fail by the system. Intolerable. If I want to go out and riot after reading it, I cannot imagine how awful it was to live it.

    14. LOVED THIS BOOK. Kozol's account of his first few years as a teacher in an underfunded school in Boston. This book made me cry on the train because the scenes Kozol described (kids being dehumanized, ignored, abused, by the people who were supposed to love and care for them and help them succeed) felt so real and so unjust. Highly recommended for teachers and Bostonians.

    15. jonathan kozol is definitely one of my heroes. this book was about inadequacies in the inner city boston schools in the 60's. the sad part is that not much has changed since then. inner city schools still suffer through the same problems. everyone should read this book.

    16. As always, Mr. Kozol does an amazingly articulate job of bringing issues in our educational systems to light. The sad thing is that the issues he so eloquently discusses in 1965 are still many of the same issues I as a teacher am struggling with today in 2010.

    17. I have read the moving novel by Jonathan Kozol titled Death at an Early age. It describes Jonathan Kozol’s teaching environment when he was appointed to teach a fourth grade class in a mostly african-american boston school in the mid nineteen sixties. In this book the terrible mistreatment of African-American students is described.The author’s purpose in writing this novel was to educate people of the horrific mistreatment of African-American students. The book describes specific students an [...]

    18. When I received this book as a gift and read the title I felt it was too morbid, too poetic and perhaps manipulative of the reader but as I got the full scope of the book I realized that the title is very fitting. Not only are the hearts and minds of these children at stake, but also their future and the futures of their children. This book is an excellent insight into the world of yesterday that still beams into the darkness of some schools now, not just in the States but everywhere. I wondered [...]

    19. Death at an Early Age by Jonathan Kozol is a touching and enlightening story about the horrors and injustices of the Boston Public School System. Kozol was a teacher at one of Boston's inner-city schools in 1964. He soon after his hiring began to notice that the large percentage of black children at the school were not treated fairly. His book is an account of what he witnessed at the school. The theme of the book can be found through paying attention to how Kozol acts and feels throughout the [...]

    20. Recommended to me many years ago, this 1967 expose of Boston's public schools is still highly relevant today. Although school integration has become legally acknowledged throughout the country in the years since Kozol wrote this personal memoir, de facto segregation - by ethnicity and, even more prevalent, by economic and social circumstances - remains. The inequality of educational opportunities upon which Kozol shone so bright a light remains the scourge of American society.

    21. The book I read was "Death At An Early Age" by Jonathon Kozol. It was about a teacher who moved into the Boston Public School System in 1964. The purpose of this book was to show how schools differed from today. The book made me realize how the school system was at that time and many things which happened there would not be tolerated today. The teachers could do anything they wanted to without consequences.I believe the theme of the book is to appreciate what we have and not take things for gran [...]

    22. This is an autobiographical indictment of the Public School System in the Boston, Mass. area by Jonathan Kozol from his personal experience until his discharge from Teaching in 1965. It is stunning. This book is simultaneously tragic and sweet, frighteningly horrible and delightful. It offers the reader a view into the halls and classrooms and even the Teacher's lounge in a School that was supposed to be educating Black students in a manner befitting any other student, revealing terrible inequit [...]

    23. I think the authors purpose in writing this book is because he is trying to let us know how different the schools in the 60's are different than the schools now. Also how much racism has changed since the 60's. The theme of the book is about abuse teachers and what the teachers did. This book is a true story, and it is written in the past. I think this book is a description because it is telling you exactly what is happening in every point of the book and how it happens. My opinion of the book i [...]

    24. One of the books that helped me understand why teaching wasn't going to be an emotionally survivable career. My early 70s time in a Portland high school confirmed that I couldn't cope with the flaws of institutional schooling. Deschooling SocietyCrisis In The Classroom, The Remaking of American Education

    25. The name really speaks for itself in this book, and it refers to the awful, degrading education that black elementary schoolers were given in an inner city school where Kozol was a long-term sub. What I saw in Kozol then was an early antiracist who asked tough questions about his role in the system, which none of his fellow teachers seemed willing to do. The conditions underwhich the students are taught are terrible, and the lessons they are told about themselves similarly destructive. I never r [...]

    26. This is an unimaginably bleak depiction of inner city public schools in Boston in the mid 60's. The most frightening thing to me is the way his depictions of his colleague's superficially progressive, open-minded self-presentations mask overt but un-accknowledged bigotry feels really familiar living in Boston today.His 1985 post-script reveals a still bleak portrait of Boston public schools. In the 60's, schools were de facto segregated by income; if you lived in a poor black neighborhood, you w [...]

    27. Although the writing was repetitive at times, this was a story that had to be told. Kozol pulls no punches about de facto segregation in the Boston Public Schools before the era of busing. Honestly, while conditions in the schools are better today, some of his words could easily be applied to students currently attending weaker schools in the system. I wrote down a favorite quotation: "The slowness of change is always respectable and reasonable in the eyes of the ones who are only watching; it i [...]

    28. Jonathan Kozol came to JCU when I was a first year, 20 years ago. I bought this book, he autographed it for me, and I've been carrying it around (literally - from Cleveland to Oxford to Detroit, Des Moines, etc.) for 20 years. I'm glad that I finally read it. Even though the events of this book took place 50 years ago, they are still very relevant today. I'm appreciative that the JCU First Year Seminar series introduced me to such an important figure in social justice and education.

    29. The book that, probably more than any other, influenced me to go into public education back in the 1980's. A classic. While it rightfully condemns a bankrupt system, it can engender something of a 'white savior' mentality. But, along with John Holt and others, it opened a critique of northern urban schooling (different than a critique of segregated southern schooling) that has led to many of today's reforms.

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