Customer Reviews: Rachel and Her Children: Homeless Families in America
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on June 13, 2003
I have been reading several reviews of books by Jonathan Kozol and I am disappointed. For starters, everyone seems to be blaming minority mothers for their "out of control baby making." I think the point of his books have been missed. Kozol is always looking at how societal ills effect children. He is not apologizing for families that are larger than can be afforded - he is sympathizing with the children that are born to them. He is sympathizing (better word empathizing) with the children who attend horrible run down schools and like in welfare hotels. As a public school teacher in Chicago, his revelations are very real. We do teach in terrible buildings. We do have homeless children. Would I ever think to point the blame at them? Am I pleased with the choices their parents have made? Not always, but I am also not the one to judge -- I am there to teach their children.
As for all of the people who suggest all "these people" need to do is get up off their couches and get a job: I would like to know if you would be willing to hire these people with substandard educations and possibly no permanent residence. Middle and upper class America is quick to condem those without work, but also the last group of people to provide employment to those in most need. Before condeming the people in these situations, I firmly believe we all need to take a hard look at ourselves.
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on December 11, 2002
Reading through the book Rachael And Her Children you are brought into a entirely new world. A world where the homeless are not just figures with hands held out asking for spare change. Kozol brings us into the lives of these homeless story by story case by case sharing his personal interviews with these misfortunate people. Instead of putting a empty face on what we normally walk by and think nothing of, Kozol shows us that these individuals were not just mere vermin but people whom grew up like any of us but for any which reason now are homelss. Kozol does an excellet job in showing us not only these poeples lives but also educates the reader in exactly how big of a problem homelessness in America actually is. After reading this book my understanding, knowledge, and compassion of how homeless are actually treated is rought into full perepective. The book has great readabillity and is compelling enough to keep you flipping the pages. I would recomend this book to anyone and think very highly of it
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on July 20, 1999
Upon reading the first few pages of this book, I was hooked. It accounts, in startling detail, the almost systematic way that society has psychologically, racially, and socially disappointed our nations youth. Kozol also does a good job of noting the hypocracy that exists, not only in the American culture, but with the affluent rich as well. I felt that this book touched close to home, because I attended a high school similar to the ones described. I would recommend this book to any educator or student.
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on February 16, 1997
If there is a "10", this is it!

I put this book down to tearfully go to my kitchen and feel privileged to be able to cook dinner for my own children.
There, but for the grace of God, go we all.

A timeless account of homelessness and the families it visits.
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on May 18, 2001
I read this book not knowing much about all the aspects of homelessness. I was educated about how homeless people live and what the government is doing about it. It turns out, according to Kozol's documentation, the government treats homeless people unfairly and does not make a huge effort to help them. The living situtaions of the people profiled in this book are horrid and really opened my eyes to what is going on in big cities around me. I actually look at homeless people different now, with a more educated view as to what is going on behind the scenes. I enjoyed this book and definately recommend it to anyone who would like to open their eyes to what is going on in the lives of homeless people.
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on May 23, 2001
This book was based on true encounters with homeless individuals and their families. It contains real life situations, although the names are changed, due to protection for homeless individuals. It is a good look at what homelessness is about. It isn't about a lot of lazy, drug addicted people that are hopeless because of their own indolence. They are normal people that had a job, but the tides have turned and they were in the depths of homelessness. It is a tragedy that could happen to anyone. It is a good book to learn about the tragic events that follow homelessness. It is important to know that homelessness is a universal tragedy. It could happen to anyone at anytime. After reading this book I began to sympathize with homelesss individuals because they are brave. Homelessness was not as easily escapible as I thought. It takes a lot out of an individual. It drives them to a point where they think the world is ending.
I reccommend this book to anyone who is intrigued or even curious of homeless experiences. It is a good and factual book that contains intriguing real-life experiences of homeless people. It can get statistical at times but only to prove it's point. That homelessness is a tragedy for a lot of people all over the country. Thanks Mr. Westfall! have a nice summer!
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on November 6, 1999
Kozol presents the truth. As a child I lived under the same conditions. The whole family was even sent to another town by the state. It is to bad that history keeps repeating itself. Parents do have to take responsibility BUT society plays a big role.
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on June 2, 2016
Jonathan Kozol's book may be almost 30'years old, but the stories of what poverty and homelessness inflict on our fellow citizens still ring true today. We must learn to treat all people with dignity and find ways of supporting those who have fled upon hard times or disaster. Chilling and insightful.
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on September 1, 1998
A very intelligent and moving account of families dealing with homelessness. This book tells it like it is for American cities and the children that inhabit them.
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on June 5, 2013
This book opened my eyes to the false rhetoric of politicians who dismiss or demonize the poor and homeless in order to make a case for ending social programs and subsidies. Our "system" is broken and corrupt and does little to actually assist the needy but does line the pockets of the wealthy quite efficiently. Shocking, well written and thorough.
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