A startling examination of an American heritage of violence – a legacy from the pre-Revolutionary white rural South to today’s urban America – that helps answer the question of how America became so violent. The tradition is reflected in the experiences of one black family, the Boskets, from the days of slavery to the present. This tragic family history culminates in the twentieth century with the seemingly inevitable destruction of two potentially valuable lives: those of Willie Bosket and his father, each first incarcerated at age nine, each ultimately convicted of murder.The saga begins with Willie Bosket’s first known American ancestors, slaves in Edgefield, South Carolina – a place of epic violence, a place where white men were quick to fight to the death for the minutest trespass on their honor.Finally, we see how the lava-flow of violence, and its explosive admixture along the way with white racism, erupts in the lives of the Boskets of our own day – especially Willie Bosket, whose IQ breached the genius level (his father was the only person ever to earn a Ph.D. in prison) and whose boyhood charm was such that some of his elementary school teachers had visions of him as president of the United States. And yet, by Willie’s own count he had by adolescence committed two hundred armed robberies and twenty-five stabbings. In his fifteenth year he shot and killed two men on the Manhattan subway. At age twenty-five he stabbed a prison guard he did not know. For him as for his father before him, prison has become his whole world, his surrogate mother. He has been deemed the most violent criminal in New York State history. Constantly manacled because he is considered so dangerous, the dazzlingly articulate Willie nevertheless seemed, when Fox Butterfield first met him, to have made prison his palace.Trying to make sense of Willie’s life, of his father’s life, of the Bosket family history back through time, Butterfield reveals the roots of the violence that threatens our future and considers what we might do to stem it.
Hardcover. Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. 1st Edition. First Edition/First Printing. Hardcover in unclipped dustjacket. 390 pages with photographs and index. Pages tight and clean and free from any inscriptions in pen. See our own photograph of the book for Quality Control, something we pride ourselves in