Review for "Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives" by Gary Younge (2016)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
“Another Day in the Death of America” is a look at the effects of gun violence on children in the United States. Younge, a British reporter, picks a random day (November 23, 2013), and identifies 10 children who died of gunshot wounds around the country within that 24 hour period. He follows up with their families and acquaintances, interviewing them and seeking insight into the victim’s short lives.
All of Younge’s subjects are male. The youngest victim was 9 years old, the oldest, 18. They hailed from large cities and small towns, inner cities and suburbs. Seven of the victims were Black, one was White, and two were Hispanic. Some of their deaths were accidental and some were intentional. In at least four of the cases, the killer (or killers) is still unknown. What matters the most, however, is that all of them were loved by their family, the majority of which agreed to be interviewed for this book.
The author puts a very human face on the tragedy of gun violence. He also probes, quite extensively and justifiably, issues of race and social class, which play a part in the prevalence of violence in some communities more than others. While he says that this book is not a plea for gun control, I’m not sure how this book can be read by anyone as anything but. It is clear that the point the author is making is that Americans are not inherently more violent than the citizens of any other country, yet the availability of guns make deaths more likely and more prevalent.
This book was written in 2016, and yet, two years later, it is still a timely one. The author admits that he began the research and writing on this book shortly after the Sandy Hook shooting. I read this in 2018, and we’re only several months removed from yet another school shooting, this time in Parkland, Florida. The questions raised in this book two years ago are the same questions we face today over gun control, and we’ve done absolutely nothing since.
I try to refrain from getting overtly political on my site, because, well, it’s all about the books, right? However, I realize more and more that the books I choose are political, and that every time I post my thoughts about them it is clear where I stand on certain issues. I’m OK with that. I am not a Democrat or a Republican, but I am a mother who sends my 14-year-old son off to school every morning with a hug and a kiss, just like everyone else.
I pray every single day that he comes home without a bullet in his body.