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Inner City Miracle Hardcover – October 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: One World/Ballantine; 1 edition (October 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345446429
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345446428
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #600,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Underprivileged black boys desperate to rise above their circumstances can benefit greatly from such institutions as school, the army, government social programs and the judicial system as well as a knowledge of options, according to Mathis, himself a kid criminal and gangland thug growing up in Detroit's devastated projects. His turnaround came in 1977, when he heard Jesse Jackson speak. Mathis was 17 years old, and Jackson's advice struck a chord. "Your heart is in the right place, but to win young people's minds and souls, you've got to have ammunition," Jackson told him privately, after his speech. "A year from now, I want to hear what you've done to improve yourself.... We got a deal?" With the help of his single mother's Seventh Day Adventist discipline, his wife-to-be's book-hitting habits and many mentors, Mathis eventually studied his way into law school, passed the bar, toiled in Michigan politics, was elected a judge and landed a syndicated TV show, Judge Mathis. His membership in multiple social classes has helped him forge his practical insight into human nature into an organized story about a hero's trajectory. Mathis and coauthor Walker poetically render the rhythms of street language, at least to those who don't speak it, and fairly present Mathis's sometimes testosterone-driven male attitude, making this an honest feel-good story. Mathis's parable from the projects explores a world that will be crucially familiar to many and offers a way to reach poor teens who rightly feel misunderstood and underrepresented in the mainstream. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Mathis, a former Detroit district court judge, shares stories of his upbringing in a strict household with a mother who worked several jobs to support her four sons. He also reveals that he lived on both sides of the law, eventually escaping to become Michigan's youngest judge ever.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Nothing held back. the real truth about Judge Mathis's life story.
Michael Juda
Inner City Miracle is an inspirational story, one that should be read by all of the seemingly hopeless youths of today.
S. Hudson
This book was one of the best books that I've read, from the first page to the last.
C. McPeters

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on January 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Inner City Miracle is the story of Judge Gregory Mathis , his quest to become the man his mother knew he could be and rise above his upbringing in the mean streets of Detroit. Since he and his brothers were raised by a single mother who worked two jobs to support her family, the brothers had a lot of unsupervised free time. Free time and growing up in the projects don't mix and Greg as he liked to be called, often found himself in some kind of trouble.
He felt that his thuggish lifestyle provided him with excitement and friends and it appeared that he would grow up as a product of the streets. Things changed dramatically when his mother became terminally ill. It is at that point Greg decides that for the sake of his mother that he will turn his life around.
Greg Mathis and Blair S. Walker have written a raw, gritty and inspirational memoir that will encourage and empower those who read it. Though the odds were against, Greg persevered and he is now a well respected judge and a popular television personality. Judge Mathis does not sugarcoat his story at all and I feel that will allow readers to appreciate this book even more.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Wanda Faye on April 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I was originally drawn to this book about Greg Mathis because while in an airport traveling from Chicago back to LA, I happened to catch his tv show. I was impressed by his style in the courtroom so when I heard that he had written a book about his story, I thought let me pick it up. I had no idea about his background so at first I was physically afraid of this young Greg Mathis in which his book went on to described. I continued to read because I kept thinking when is the miracle going to happen. I was not sure that he would ever become anything more than what he was at the time, a thug and a criminal. Finally, more than half way through the book, the miracle happened and I found myself rooting for the young man, Greg Mathis. In short, his story touched my heart in a different way. Although I'm an african american women and grew up in Chicago during the 1960s and 1970s. The life that Judge Mathis described in his book was foreign to me. But I was so impressed with his determination, preseverance, hard work and his ability to never give up. While I don't have a lot of street smarts I found myself thinking perhaps I had been more judgmental in my past about the young boys who grew up in the project because I totally saw the change in Judge Mathis in this book. I'm glad that I read it and have been sharing with others that it is definitely a must read for all ages. The bottom line is anybody can be anything they want to be if they work at it and become discipline. Kudos to Judge Mathis and other african american males who have decided to allow the miracle to happen in their lives.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ms. 90 on May 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Straightforward, uncensored, and no sugarcoating, Mathis tells it like it was growing up in Detroit. Raised primarily by his single parent mother, he was a hustler, thug, and all-around devious little fellow, but his mother's cancer diagnosis caused him to change his dishonorable ways. He turned his life around, got his GED, bachelor's degree, law degree, and was an elected district judge. How's that for irony.

A quick read that's written in a style that makes you feel like you were sitting in his chambers listening to him tell his tale. Some strong language throughout, but I think this would be a good book for teens. I hope there's a follow-up that talks more about his TV show. 3.5 stars!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By S. Hudson on March 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The person who we see on television, and recognize as a no nonsense type of character, Judge Greg Mathis has lead an interesting life. If you watch his program, her very often alludes to his childhood but to get a deeper understanding, you have to read Inner City Miracle. Sure he�s brash, but he�s real. The youngest of 4 children, Greg was an oxymoron- a contradiction between what his mother wanted him to be and what he wanted to be. A student who excelled in class work, but arguably was the meanest bully in school. Teachers struggled with him� great grades but a horrible attitude. His idols were gangsters, pimps, drug dealers- the malcontents of society who always had money and loved to flash it. Growing up poor, naturally the lure of money was enticing. His older brothers weren�t role models for they too aspired to greatness with little regard to the law. Greg and his siblings were lucky that they didn�t meet their maker at a young age. His mother was the family backbone. She ruled with tough love, often kicking out her older sons until they could prove they were worthy of returning to the fold. Back to contradictions, he always strived to please her. His good grades, his weekly attendance in church services, his participation in church activities, his innate need to care for his mother made his other side so unbelievable. Mother wanted all of her children to succeed but there came a point when she even had to call the police on Greg. This was the turning point in a troubled young man�s life.
As Judge Mathis has publicly said on many occasions, the system that sentences so many youth to prison is the same system that helped him become the person that he is today. Defining change came when he was incarcerated and had visiting time with his mother.
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