A book review/Analysis of All God’s Children: The Bosket Family and the American Tradition of Violence by Fox Butterfield

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A book review/Analysis of All God’s Children: The Bosket Family and the American Tradition of Violence by Fox Butterfield

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A book review/Analysis of All God’s Children: The Bosket Family and the American Tradition of Violence by Fox Butterfield

Authored by Fox Butterfield and published by Vintage books in the year 2008, All God’s Children: The Bosket Family and the American Tradition of Violence is probably one of the most outstanding texts in the areas of social science and criminology. In a total of 389 pages, Butterfield seeks to express the fundamentals of a tradition that has habitually been characterized by counts and episodes of violence and crime. In seeking to review the underlying factors that are causative of violence, he achieves a writing that tells the story of how violence can cumulatively affect a society when inherited. In this review, he tackles a transcending trend over five generations of black Americans that have lived in the culture of violence. Not only does he explore the causative factors of this violence and its inheritance but also analyses the effects of the violence in the American society (Regoli, Hewitt & DeLisi, 2008). One outstanding point is the existence of racism and the way it interrelates to violence in this same community. The author of the book is also the writer of an award winning text of the National Book Award, China: Alive in the Bitter Sea, and a previous Times correspondent, writing about crime and its effects on the society as well as violence (Lubin, & Coe, 1982).

In a considerably inhumane way, Butterfield reviews the high amounts of disregard, brutality, unkindness, percipience, discrimination, and cruelty that blacks in the American society experience over this duration of time. To an extent, he samples them out as an overally oppressed society that remains at pains and generally bitter. The way they are treated is quite wanting. In essence, this treatment elicits desires of revenge and tendencies of retaliation in them. It is in this that Butterfield takes the case of Willie Bosket to analyze how the effects of cumulative oppression can be transferred down through generations. In this case, the considerations have five generations in line that are analyzed. At the age of five, Bosket was already a criminal. As early as age fifteen, he had the potential of slaying and killing two subway riders without the help of anyone else. Markedly, this activity led to the establishment of law that subsequently authorized the trial of children as adults in murder cases, forming a unique precedent in the American criminology and legal landscape (Worth, & Sarat, 2001). By going back through to South Carolina and tracing the lineage of Bosket, Butterfield finds out something unique. Bosket is from a black family, who have considerably undergone seasons of perceived and existent oppression over the years. It is therefore possible to conclude that his act is a culmination of the effects of this; possibly the achievement of societal revenge and the expression of internal resentment, pain and overall reprisal (Butterfield, 2008).

These generations characterized by racism, slavery practices, and discrimination in national fronts run from the eras of reconstruction to the years in 1970s. In his examination and review, Butterfield reveals very outstanding points and realistic presentations of the situations.

All God’s Children: The Bosket Family and the American Tradition of Violence is presented in a prologue, sixteen chapters with each confronting a specific issue at a specific time and an ultimate epilogue (Butterfield, 2008).

Chapters one to four make up part one of the book which runs from page one to seventy and through the titles: “Bloody Edgefield,” “Masters and Slaves,” “Aaron after Freedom,” and “PUD ‘Don’t Step on My Reputation,’” respectively. In these chapters, Butterfield introduces the book and covers an infinitely significant perspective of the background and source of societal violence (Butterfield, 2008). In the opening of the prologue, Willie is presented in prison and the opening statements indicate an aggressed individual who throws excrement at prison guards. He is numerously subjected to solitary condemnation and kept under tight surveillance. In other cross examined episodes, it is revealed that he had previously hurled a typewriter at a female teacher and ultimately got thrown out of school by a judge at the age of nine. In Butterfield’s narration, he does not survive long in reformatory institutions. Possibly, he sets inmates on fire, escapes, or assaults the caregivers in the institutions. If this is the extent of aggression that societal oppression, discrimination and racism can ultimately build in an individual, then Butterfield achieves his point of proving the negative effects of the American tradition of violence (Cooney, 1998).

Nonetheless, it should be worth noting that these effects are across a group of individuals and not Willie alone. The essence of this explanation is the fact that the murders Willie commits bring him out a celebrity, luminary and superstar rather than the criminal we would expect him to be. It is his acts of bravery that make Willie a scarecrow to the judiciary that quickens the passing of laws that will see juveniles tried as adults if they commit acts like that of Willie (Butterfield, 2008).

Yet narrated from his own perspective, Butterfield tells us that Willie’s story too was worth listening to. Although unaware about his family’s background, Butterfield finds the elements of upbringing in poor Harlem, subjection to a chaotic a.............

Type: Essay || Words: 1913 Rating || Excellent

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