All God's Children (Fox Butterfield) Book Report - Essay Example

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Willie Bosket is considered by many to be New York's most dangerous inmate. With his life a never-ending rage, Willie is kept in near-solitary confinement within three cells, incarcerated for five years for a casual double murder on the New York City Subway at age 15…
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All Gods Children (Fox Butterfield) Book Report
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Download file to see previous pages All God's Children is an exceptionally well written and finely researched book, detailing how violence in the African American community and primarily in the Bosket family, saw roots from the violence that was the norm in South Carolina, where the Boskets came from. It is the sobering story of Willie Bosket's family, from his ancestors down to his parents and siblings, explaining how families can be doomed when they remain outside mainstream society and who have no access to opportunity or given any hope. Butterfield does a fine job describing the criminal justice system as it relates to children and how we have come to treat 12 and 13 year old children like adults.
In July 1962, while Willie was still in the womb, his father, Butch, stabbed two men in the heart in a Milwaukee pawnshop. Willie's mother, Laura gave birth to him in Harlem, three months before Butch was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murders. Willie did not learn his father's history or whereabouts until he was seven years old.
By then, Willie had stolen groceries and assaulted an old woman. By age 8, Willie was described as a human nuclear chain reaction, someone very unpredictably violent and aggressive. When he threw a typewriter out of a school window, just missing a pregnant teacher, he was expelled from school and sent to Bellevue for observation. His institutional life had begun. He was diagnosed as depressed. By the time he was 15, Willie claimed he had committed 2,000 crimes, including 200 armed robberies and 25 stabbings. They culminated in seven violent weeks in 1978, when he kicked another boy off a roof to his death, and then murdered two men during subway robberies.
Six factors existed in the Bosket family that fuelled this level of violence - alcoholism, physical abuse, sexual abuse, incest, rejection, and neglect. Since the victims of this abuse found it difficult to transfer their anger back at their family, they turned their rage outwards on society. It seemed as though the only way they had learned to fight back was with either weapons or with their bare hands. One of the saddest situations included Butch and the fact that he had raped his girlfriend's 6 year-old daughter, Kristin. The girlfriend's name was Donna, a weak-willed woman, who had actually ignored her daughter's cries during the rape. In the end, because she allowed it to continue, she had lost custody of both Kristin and her twin brother, Matthew. She was so taken by Butch that she seemed to care more about him than her own children. Butterfield shows the weaknesses that existed within the family.
This book seamlessly ties two issues together. On the one hand, it is a fascinating and detailed true crime study of Willie Bosket and on the other hand it's a study of the origins of violence in America.
With a surprisingly detailed research, the author was able to trace Willie Bosket's ancestry back to his slave ancestors, and follow the escalating evolution of violence and criminality in each succeeding generation of the Bosket family. The book begins in pre-revolutionary era with a study of white violence in the region of North Carolina where Willie's ancestors were enslaved. The author persuasively argues that the primary origin of black violence is the tradition of white violence that was transferred to them from their former slave owners.
Butterfield contends that the white Southern mentality of easily aggrieved honor has made its way through time and the descendants ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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