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Our Guys Paperback – April 28, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage Books ed edition (April 28, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375702695
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375702693
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Riveting. . . .In a way that makes for compulsive reading, Lefkowitz has exposed the substrata of evil in a seemingly idyllic town. Most troubling of all, you come away with the realization that what happened in Glen Ridge could happen anywhere."
--Jonathan Harr, author of A Civil Action


"Lefkowitz's extraordinary chronicle...is an important book, one that should be read by parents and educator's alike...It's possible to believe that there is not a whole new batch of "our guys" graduating from high school this year all across America...We want to think that crimes like the Glen Ridge rape are a consequence of a brutalizing environment and occur only in the impoverished inner cities...But as Lefkowitz writes: "These Glen Ridge kids, they were pure gold, every mother's dream, every father's pride...in their perfection they belonged to all of us." And if a community like that, without knowing or intending it, is raising its boys to be abusive in their dealings with girls and women...then what's going on in the rest of America? Is there some dark unforeseen underside to the American Dream that leads decent, privileged boys to behave like a pack of jackals? Lefkowitz...argues persuasively that there is...for if we are raising our male children to be feral, which is to say, if they are becoming incapable of empathy for others, especially their female counterparts, then what will their children be like?"--New York Times Book Review, front page

From the Inside Flap

In March 1989 a group of teenage boys lured a retarded girl into a basement in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, and gang-raped her. Glen Ridge was the kind of peaceful, affluent suburb many Americans dream about. The rapists were its most popular high school athletes. And although rumors of the crime quickly spread through the town, weeks passed before anyone saw fit to report it to the police. What made these boys capable of brutalizing a girl that some of them had known since childhood? Why did so many of their elders deny the rape and rally around its perpetrators? To solve this riddle, the Edgar award-winning author Bernard Lefkowitz conducted years of research and more than two hundred interviews. The result is not just a wrenching story of crime and punishment, but a hauntingly nuanced portrait of America's jock culture and the hidden world of unrestrained adolescent sexuality.

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
A Los Angeles Times Prize Finalist
An Edgar Finalist

Customer Reviews

I was riveted while reading this book.
mel
This book really lets you look into the minds of parents who think their kids are perfect.
Kristin
The story is told very well, making for interesting reading.
J. Reynolds

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 57 people found the following review helpful By BeachReader on April 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is probably one of the most riveting and chilling books I have ever read. More of a sociological and cultural study than a "true crime" book, the author, Bernard Lefkowitz details the story of a young retarded woman ("Leslie") who was raped by "the Jocks" in the town of Glen Ridge, NJ. Many of these young men had been trouble since middle school years, but they were the golden boys, the star athletes, in a town that revered athleticism and competition. The behavior of one of the defendants was so disgusting and bizarre, for many years, but he was never held responsible. As Lefkowitz said, you walked into the high school and saw a huge trophy cabinet containing trophies, game balls, and all the other accoutrements of winning sporst teams. But where was the honor roll list?
These boys had been raised to feel empowered, that they could get away with things that other *mortals* could not. They treated most women and girls with disrespect. They had very little contact with girls or women in a situation where the girls could be their *equals*, since all of their activities involved sports teams. None of them did volunteer work, were on the school paper, or in activities where they worked on an equal footing with females. What was especially alarming and dismaying was that the girls, the Jockettes or Little Mothers, as Lefkowitz calls them---put up with the vile behavior of these boys and defended them!!!! I kept thinking of bits from "Reviving Ophelia" when I read about these girls. They must have felt that they had no identity apart from these boys.
Lefkowitz writes of the boys who raped Leslie: "'These Glen Ridge kids, they were pure gold, every mother's dream, every father's pride.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
I have seen some reviewers complain that this book stereotypes the rich or panders to stereotypes against athletes. Let me say that those stereotypes exist for a reason, and that this author is dead on. The high school portrayed in the novel and its predatory athletes reminded me so much of my school that I couldn't put it down. The boys in the book were allowed to get away with everything their entire lives, thanks to their doting parents who spoiled them rotten, their teachers who sucked up to them because their trophies and awards made the school look good, and the girls that fawned over them because of their looks. They knew they could do whatever they wanted, which is why they decided to sadistically rape a mentally retarded girl. This kind of stuff goes on in many perfect suburban communities, featuring "All-American guys", except most of the time it doesn't make the news. An excellent book on a disturbing topic.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By J. Reynolds on April 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
"Our Guys" is a frightening account of a bunch of football players who sexually abused a mentally impaired girl, and how people in their social orbit rose to support them after the crime came to light.
Anyone from a high school where football players were special beings, or who is familiar with that phenomenon, will appreciate the focus of "Our Guys." The power these kids exercised in Glen Ridge was atrocious, as was their behavior. Enabled by their parents, teachers and peers, they dominated social situations, treated girls like trash, turned parties into destruction derbies and pretty much behaved like animals.
The story is told very well, making for interesting reading. And particularly if you have kids approaching or presently living their teen years, it will scare the H out of you.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
Sports is famously said to build character and school spirit, and help young people mature into admirable adults. But it can also promote violence against women and help young people cement an offputting sense of entitlement. Parents, teachers and other influential adults who look the other way with a "boys will boys" attitude can, in fact, do a great deal of harm, and this book shows just how.
The author's interest in the Glen Ridge scandal was first piqued when he realized that most of the town apparently supported the boys who sodomized a retarded girl. The girl herself was "asking for trouble." The boys would be scarred for life, it was said, having to undergo a trial.
The author's investigation uncovered a long history on the boys' part of deviant and inappropriate sexual behavior and bullying to peers and even adults. Despite sporadic attempts at discipline, the jocks were mainly permitted to do as they pleased. Until the trial, that is.
The author's sympathies are clearly with the girl, and the reader comes to realize that she is far from the Lolita portrayed by the opposing side's lawyer. In addition, the author uncovers statistics on the correlation between violence and male athletes, even breaking it down by sport. Highly recommended.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Cherry Provost (cplp@advanix.net) on February 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Ten years ago today the rape that was the basis of "Our Guys" took place. As a Glen Ridge resident who has spoken out publicly on the rape many people have asked me, How is the town now? Fortunately,because of the book, the long period of denial has ended and the current Mayor, Tom Lincoln has tried to makes changes. A summit meeting was held last year with 130 people attending for two nights to come up with various plans on standards that have been implemented. A athletic forum addressed the problem of jockism. No longer are athletic trophies the first thing you see as you enter the High School. Now the Honor Roll is prominent. Of the 60 high school seniors 15 have National Merit commendation and 5 are finalists, a new type of competition. Students must do community service to graduate. Many new people have moved in who have brought diversity and a liberal awareness. A Human Relations Committee has worked to create a communications network, to establish an advisory link with the local government, to assist law enforcement and to organize public events to promote understanding, respect and concern for all people. Glen Ridge has come a long way.
Cherry Provost
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