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Unlikely Brothers: Our Story of Adventure, Loss, and Redemption Paperback – February 28, 2012

11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A book like Unlikely Brothers could have been a slog. It could have been gauzy and preachy. But what John and Michael have pulled off is something as unlikely as their brotherhood—a memoir wonderfully raw and vivid that manages to tell us something new about poverty and struggle and humility and hope. You'll read this in one sitting."—Dave Eggers, author of Zeitoun and What Is the What

"Read this book, and learn more about our common humanity like I did. This inspiring story will touch your heart and have you believing we are our brother's keeper all over again."—Wes Moore, New York Times bestselling author of The Other Wes Moore

"This is no ordinary memoir. It is an inspiring, important and utterly unforgettable saga. Every American should read it and any who do will be moved--moved to change and moved to act. John and Michael have opened up their innards, probing their friendship, their adventures, their disappointments and their demons so as to light a spark in all of us."—Samantha Power, Pulitzer Prize winning author of A Problem from Hell

Unlikely Brothers is an unlikely book, two interweaving stories filled with loss, tenderness and hope. John Prendergast’s and Michael Mattocks’ journeys - together and apart - should resonate for all of us, a searching for our place in the world, a yearning for friendship and connections
.”—Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here and Never a City So Real

"A fascinating account of a long-standing friendship."
Publishers Weekly

“Despite their contrasting perspectives, Prendergast and Mattocks illustrate that when it comes to the human condition, attitudes trump platitudes and actions outweigh promises.”--Booklist
 
"A feel-good narrative that underscores the brutal effects of poverty at home and injustice abroad."--Kirkus 



From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

JOHN PRENDERGAST is a human rights activist and author. He is cofounder of the Enough Project (enoughproject.org), an initiative to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Working for the Clinton administration, he was directly involved in a number of peace processes in Africa. John helped create the Satellite Sentinel Project with George Clooney; coauthored two books with Don Cheadle; and worked on films with Ryan Gosling. He traveled to Africa with 60 Minutes for four different episodes. He has been a Big Brother since 1983.
 
MICHAEL MATTOCKS lived in homeless shelters as a child and began dealing drugs as a teenager. He is now a husband and father of five boys, working two jobs in order to support his family. He helps coach his sons’ football teams.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (February 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307464857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307464859
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,018,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Claudette Moore on September 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased the book after seeing the authors on C-SPAN Book TV online. I was interested in the story because I grew up in northeast Washington,DC and I was familiar with the locations mentioned by Michael and JP. I also wanted to learn what Michael thought about being a homeless child. It turns out children have this great ability to find adventure in whatever environments they find themselves in. This is a great story and I highly recommend the book. JP's experience in the social justice arena was enlighting and some of the situations were scary. The book started out slow but picked up very quickly and became a page turner. This book reveals the capacity of human beings to grow and change into healthy responsbile individuals. The book also reveals the PTSD issues experienced by young people who witness gun violence and how young people become numb to that violence. Thanks Michael and JP for telling your stories.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Nell Okie on May 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Unlikely Brothers is a deeply moving, beautifully, soulfully written, important book. I am on my second reading, doing so slowly, as I don't want it to end, again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J Martin Jellinek on October 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
We all come from diverse backgrounds. We all have things in our past that can destroy us. How we deal with these things determines what kind of life we will have. Unlikely Brothers follows the lives of two men who were inextricablly bound by Big Brother Big Sister. One came from a life of extreme poverty and extreme disfunction but was upbeat and happy. The other came from a life of at least some privilege with a nuclear family intact who suffered from a disfunctional upbringing and was inwardly miserable. One went down hill to a life of crime and violence. The other soared to a place of national prominence in his field. Yet they both found that their relationship grounded themselves in their better part. This is a story of redemption from the devils that we face in life. It is an inspiring read and reminds us that our background, although it shapes us, does not need to define who we are. We are all able to rise above our circumstances and become fully human.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By JFL on June 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
"Unlikely Brothers" is a beautiful, well written and thoughtful reminder to us all of how the simple act of making a connection with another person -- no matter age, race or background -- can have the potential to impact and ultimately alter a life. We can not all do great things, but we can all do small things with great love. This book will inspire on many levels.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Anon. on August 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
These two men saved each other. What a wonderful story. I hope this book inspires others to become a big brother or big sister.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This autobiography of two very unlikely brothers, as the title proclaims, is a very well written and informative book which can give the reader an understanding of the very different situations and choices available to people (one a young child and the other a young adult) who meet in a mentoring relationship, which, in one way or another, lasted for close to 30 years. The structure of the book gives the reader a close look at these differences since each writes from his perspective alternatively as they grow older and have such different experiences that they can't understand or communicate with each other during most years of this "mentorship," and their lives go on with their mostly growing farther apart. Michael Mattocks, the charming and bright seven year old black child who is living in a homeless shelter is mentored by John at at the suggestion of a friend. Michael's greatest wish is to help his barely surviving family, and John's greatest wish is to help the people in Darfur and elsewhere in Africa to fight against genocide and other kinds of oppression. John (J.P. in the book) becomes very well educated and influential in his field of endeavor and Michael becomes a drug dealer when he is about eleven years old and he is then able to help his mother and siblings and other relatives, many of whom are living with then. Except for JP and his family and the family of the woman who later becomes his wife, Michael does't see any other role models in his immediate environment of one of the worst housing projects in the country, who aren't either using drugs or selling drugs or engaging in other destructive behavior. The story of how Michael manages to overcome the limitations of his environment is most moving.Read more ›
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