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The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream Reissue Edition

221 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1573229890
ISBN-10: 157322989X
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Editorial Reviews Review

As teenagers from a rough part of Newark, New Jersey, Sampson Davis, Rameck Hunt, and George Jenkins had nothing special going for them except loving mothers (one of whom was a drug user) and above-average intelligence. Their first stroke of luck was testing into University High, one of Newark's three magnet high schools, and their second was finding each other. They were busy staying out of trouble (most of the time), and discovering the usual ways to skip class and do as little schoolwork as possible, when a recruitment presentation on Seton Hall University reignited George's childhood dream of becoming a dentist. The college was offering a tempting assistance package for minorities in its Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Plus Program. George convinced his two friends to go to college with him. They would help each other through. None of them would be allowed to drop out and be reabsorbed by the Newark streets.

Although this inspiring and easy-to-read book would be enjoyed by any teenager or educator, it seems perfect for minority youth, especially young men of junior high and high school age, who may lack more immediate role models. If the ordinary boys who made this pact could survive college and medical school by sticking together, then so can others. --Regina Marler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Jenkins, Davis and Hunt grew up in and around the projects of Newark, N.J., a place decimated by crack. "The sounds of gunshots and screeching cars late at night and before dawn were as familiar to us as the chirping of insects must be to people who live in the country." The three attended high school together in the mid-'80s and made a pact to attend medical school together. "We didn't lock hands in some kind of empty, symbolic gesture... We just took one another at his word and headed back to class, without even a hint of how much our lives were about to change." Against incredible odds the almost complete absence of male role models, a history of substance abuse in two of the families, and even incarcerations the trio made good on their word and now practice medicine. Told in alternating first-person chapters, the story of these young men's struggle has remarkable clarity and insight. In extremely accessible prose, the authors articulate the problems they faced: "On the streets where I grew up, you didn't worry about consequences. If someone disrespected you, you beat his ass. Period," says Hunt; while Jenkins recalls, "Sometimes it felt surreal, walking past the drunks, dealers, and addicts on my way home from dental school with a pile of books." Although it is a memoir (which, by nature, is often self-serving), this book's agenda is far from hidden and its urgency is undeniable: through their pact, Davis, Jenkins and Hunt achieved success, and if they did it, others can, too. Agent, Joann Davis. (May 13) Forecast: Books about male friendship are rare. This fills the void nicely, and should be a strong seller, especially among African-American readers.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 263 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books; Reissue edition (May 6, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157322989X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573229890
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (221 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Reader's Paradise VINE VOICE on July 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Writing a review for this book was a difficult task, not because of the content, but because most of what I want to say is already on the jacket of the book or has been said in another review. Then it hit me. Profile each character separately and then talk about how this book made me feel; so here goes. One of the three dreamed of becoming a dentist then persuaded his friends to apply to the Pre Medical - Pre Dental Plus program. Free college, free tutoring and help getting into dental school, the Pact was made. Neither of the three thought beyond the Pact. What would happen if one of us didn't make it, what would happen if one of us changed our minds?
Dr George Jenkins was born in South Carolina to George Jenkins, Sr. and Ella Jenkins Mack. At the age of two his parents divorced, mother and two sons moved to Newark, New Jersey. George was the curious one; his curiosity was peaked by his third grade teacher Viola Johnson. She took the class to see Broadway plays, and gave them some culture and taught them to have respect for themselves. She constantly told the class, get those degrees! get those degrees!
Dr. Sampson Davis born in 1973 to Ruthener Davis in Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, NJ. His mom married Kenneth Davis at the early age of fifteen and divorced him ten years later. Sam was very popular in his neighborhood, he loved numbers and of the three he was the analyst. He was also the man-child whom his mother looked to for things she couldn't do like reading her mail and making bank deposits to pay the bills.
Dr. Rameck Hunt also born in 1973 lived with his mother and grandmother he called Ma. He was the skeptical one of the three. Both his parent were strung out on drugs at one time or another.
These three inner city youths beat the odds placed at their feet.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
There are times that I think my life was or still is hard. Well, I'm a black female who grew up in a middle-class home with two teachers as parents. College was as automatic as sleeping and eating. But, for these young men in the book "The Pact", college was as uncertain as winning the lottery. I always knew that our young black boys growing up in the inner-city had it super hard, but this book allowed me to see another side of our young brothas. They all have dreams as little kids, even though they don't see anyone in their neighborhood to emulate. Somehow, someway, Sampson Davis, Rameck Hunt and George Jenkins all found the determination to succeed and become doctors. Their positive story is proof that just one person can make a difference in a kid's life. Everyone needs someone to look up to; someone to follow.
We all have gifts we can share. Read this book and feel blessed that someone in your life took the time to mentor you and be there for you; not everyone has that in their lives. I am so proud of these young men! Not only are they smart and positive, but they are cute too! What a great combination! God has truly blessed them and their family.
What a refreshing book. Thanks to Tavis Smiley for recommending it on the Tom Joyner Show.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Donna M. Myers on March 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
What happens when three young African-American men from the projects in Newark, NJ make a pact to become doctors? With determination, discipline, perseverance, a little luck and Divine intervention, and each other's support, they become doctors. The Pact is the true story of three such young men, inspired by George Jenkins' dream of becoming a dentist. The doctors alternate telling their stories of living in mostly single parent homes in neighborhoods rife with crack heads and stray bullets. The three became friends at University High, a magnet school for gifted and talented students. Their senior year, a recruiter from Seton Hall's Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Plus Program, part of an Equal Opportunity Program created to make higher education accessible for poor students, spoke and rekindled George's interest in dentistry. He convinced the others to apply to Seton Hall, attend college, and medical school together. Their pact, similar to the Three Musketeers "All for one, and one for all," enabled each to achieve more than they could have ever imagined. The Pact provides a powerful message of friendship's positive influence.

The importance of friendship is the overall theme of these doctors' story. Each agrees that life would be very different had they not agreed to support each other. They also acknowledge the support of significant others-family members, teachers, counselors, even their n'er-do-well friends. The power of their pact, knowing that the others would be disappointed, or striving to keep up with each other is what kept them alive, or from becoming statistics in the NJ penal system. Their friendship didn't end at the conclusion of medical school, but continues today. They honor their accomplishments and the people and circumstances that enabled their success through the Three Doctors Foundation, a nonprofit organization that creates medical/health opportunities in inner-city communities. They also hope that their story will inspire others.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As an African American women I know how hard being Black in this country is on a daily basis. I also know that our young males have an extremely tough time as they try to discover what manhood means in a world of hustlers and hard times. And this book so solidified to me what it is that politicians, administrators and teachers don't get - these kids are not inherently bad, stupid, lazy or dangerous. They are children, some of whom have parents with desires for their children but no understanding of how to guide them. They are children without mothers and/or fathers. They are children who had to raise themselves. They are children who had to decide at an early age how to survive long enough to make it home from school Who had to make decisions about who to be based on the gang colors of their neighborhood.
Why don't we have more doctors, lawyers, scientists, etc.? The answer lies on pages 177-78 where Dr. Davis talks about having never held a stethoscope until he was in medical school. Doctor visits were few and far between for him as a kid. How is a child supposed to identify his desire if all he is exposed to his what stands on the corner near his house. Why do many Black students fail to graduate? That answer is on page 217 when again Dr. Davis describes how after 4 years of pre-med and 4 more years in medical school no one had bothered to tell him about the National Resident Matching Program. How are you supposed to know is someone doesn't help you.
The most amazing thing about their stories is that even with all of the support from family members, teacher and counselors they all came dangerously close to still not making it through as the constant tugs from the street, their friends and family, society continuously made them hesitant and doubtful.
This should be required reading for everyone from school administrators to parents, politicians, students and the President. We have much work to do.
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