The Florida Times Union, April 18, 1999 | Go to article overview
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TITLE: The Children of the Dream AUTHOR: Laurel Holliday DATA: Pocket Books, 431 pages, $24

Review by Jules Wagman

This fourth volume of the Children in Conflict series includes 38 African-American writers, ages 11 to 75, who recall events and attitudes that shaped their lives.

Though the stories are not related to one another, the common thread is the blackness of the authors and what being black means to them.

Several of the most poignant stories deal with growing up and becoming aware of race. Typically, grade school girls, white and black, became close friends, but the friendships faltered in junior high and high school -- more often, but not always, because the white girl pulled away.

One writer describes her experience as a freshman at Duke University where her initial racial problem came from black students who resented the time she spent with whites.

Another writer describes her wholly integrated life as an Army brat until she reached high school in Columbus, Ga., next to Fort Benning. The 1967 Detroit riots were the topic of another story. The writer, only 11 then, watched his neighborhood burn, peeked out the door when he heard gunshots. National Guard troops, firing and being fired on, saw him and ran up onto the porch. His mother shoved him back into the house and confronted them, pleading, "Please, please don't hurt my baby."

He will carry the rage for the rest of his life, he says.

Jules Wagman is a Times-Union book reviewer.

TITLE: Black Hawk Down, a Story of Modern War AUTHOR: Mark Bowden DATA: Atlantic Monthly Press, 386 pages, $24

Review by Joe Swickard

Somalia was a bitter stew of vicious clan loyalties boiling with blood-and-gun warlord politics, but it took turbo-charged technology and good intentions to turn it into a hideous, scalding bloodbath for 99 American GIs.

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