This is an extraordinary book about crime, punishment, redemption and the empowerment that can spring from adversity. The author, journalist Issac Bailey, is nuanced, original and remarkably clear-sighted about America and himself.

He is also as proud of his achievements as he is brutally honest about his faults.

His oldest brother, Moochie, is his childhood hero, the man-boy who protects his poor working-class mother from their violently abusive father. Then, when the author is only nine, Moochie is arrested for stabbing a white man to death after robbing him. That murder marks the author, his indomitable mother, his seven brothers and his two sisters for the rest of their lives.


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KOLUMN Magazine celebrates the lives of People of Color by giving our world texture.