All God's Children (Fox Butterfield) Book Report

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Willie Bosket is considered by many to be New York's most dangerous inmate. With his life a never-ending rage, Willie is kept in near-solitary confinement within three cells, incarcerated for five years for a casual double murder on the New York City Subway at age 15.


All God's Children is an exceptionally well written and finely researched book, detailing how violence in the African American community and primarily in the Bosket family, saw roots from the violence that was the norm in South Carolina, where the Boskets came from. It is the sobering story of Willie Bosket's family, from his ancestors down to his parents and siblings, explaining how families can be doomed when they remain outside mainstream society and who have no access to opportunity or given any hope. Butterfield does a fine job describing the criminal justice system as it relates to children and how we have come to treat 12 and 13 year old children like adults.
In July 1962, while Willie was still in the womb, his father, Butch, stabbed two men in the heart in a Milwaukee pawnshop. Willie's mother, Laura gave birth to him in Harlem, three months before Butch was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murders. Willie did not learn his father's history or whereabouts until he was seven years old.
By then, Willie had stolen groceries and assaulted an old woman. By age 8, Willie was described as a human nuclear chain reaction, someone very unpredictably violent and aggressive. When he threw a typewriter out of a school window, just missing a pregnant teacher, he was expelled from school and sent to Bellevue for observation. His institutional life had begun. He was diagnosed as depressed. ...
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