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Children Under Fire: An American Crisis

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Based on the acclaimed series—a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize—an intimate account of the devastating effects of gun violence on our nation’s children, and a call to action for a new way forward In 2017, seven-year-old Ava in South Carolina wrote a letter to Tyshaun, an eight-year-old boy from Washington, DC. She asked him to be her pen pal; Ava thought they could help eac Based on the acclaimed series—a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize—an intimate account of the devastating effects of gun violence on our nation’s children, and a call to action for a new way forward In 2017, seven-year-old Ava in South Carolina wrote a letter to Tyshaun, an eight-year-old boy from Washington, DC. She asked him to be her pen pal; Ava thought they could help each other. The kids had a tragic connection—both were traumatized by gun violence. Ava’s best friend had been killed in a campus shooting at her elementary school, and Tyshaun’s father had been shot to death outside of the boy’s elementary school. Ava’s and Tyshaun’s stories are extraordinary, but not unique. In the past decade, 15,000 children have been killed from gunfire, though that number does not account for the kids who weren’t shot and aren’t considered victims but have nevertheless been irreparably harmed by gun violence. In Children Under Fire, John Woodrow Cox investigates the effectiveness of gun safety reforms as well as efforts to manage children’s trauma in the wake of neighborhood shootings and campus massacres, from Columbine to Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Through deep reporting, Cox addresses how we can effect change now, and help children like Ava and Tyshaun. He explores their stories and more, including a couple in South Carolina whose eleven-year-old son shot himself, a Republican politician fighting for gun safety laws, and the charlatans infiltrating the school safety business. In a moment when the country is desperate to better understand and address gun violence, Children Under Fire offers a way to do just that, weaving wrenching personal stories into a critical call for the United States to embrace practical reforms that would save thousands of young lives. 


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Based on the acclaimed series—a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize—an intimate account of the devastating effects of gun violence on our nation’s children, and a call to action for a new way forward In 2017, seven-year-old Ava in South Carolina wrote a letter to Tyshaun, an eight-year-old boy from Washington, DC. She asked him to be her pen pal; Ava thought they could help eac Based on the acclaimed series—a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize—an intimate account of the devastating effects of gun violence on our nation’s children, and a call to action for a new way forward In 2017, seven-year-old Ava in South Carolina wrote a letter to Tyshaun, an eight-year-old boy from Washington, DC. She asked him to be her pen pal; Ava thought they could help each other. The kids had a tragic connection—both were traumatized by gun violence. Ava’s best friend had been killed in a campus shooting at her elementary school, and Tyshaun’s father had been shot to death outside of the boy’s elementary school. Ava’s and Tyshaun’s stories are extraordinary, but not unique. In the past decade, 15,000 children have been killed from gunfire, though that number does not account for the kids who weren’t shot and aren’t considered victims but have nevertheless been irreparably harmed by gun violence. In Children Under Fire, John Woodrow Cox investigates the effectiveness of gun safety reforms as well as efforts to manage children’s trauma in the wake of neighborhood shootings and campus massacres, from Columbine to Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Through deep reporting, Cox addresses how we can effect change now, and help children like Ava and Tyshaun. He explores their stories and more, including a couple in South Carolina whose eleven-year-old son shot himself, a Republican politician fighting for gun safety laws, and the charlatans infiltrating the school safety business. In a moment when the country is desperate to better understand and address gun violence, Children Under Fire offers a way to do just that, weaving wrenching personal stories into a critical call for the United States to embrace practical reforms that would save thousands of young lives. 

30 review for Children Under Fire: An American Crisis

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Kay

    I’ve known John Cox’s brilliance as a writer for nearly two decades. We graduated journalism school together. Nevertheless, I write this review neutrally and not based on any friendship I have with the author. John knocks it out of the park with this book. He makes well-reasoned arguments for gun control and gun sense in America. He does that through countless interviews and in-depth reporting. He does that through the eyes of children whose lives will never be the same because of gun violence. I’ve known John Cox’s brilliance as a writer for nearly two decades. We graduated journalism school together. Nevertheless, I write this review neutrally and not based on any friendship I have with the author. John knocks it out of the park with this book. He makes well-reasoned arguments for gun control and gun sense in America. He does that through countless interviews and in-depth reporting. He does that through the eyes of children whose lives will never be the same because of gun violence. I urge everyone to read this book and think about how we can do better for our children. I hope that this book will be profoundly influential in effectuating real change, and not just “thoughts and prayers.”

  2. 4 out of 5

    Guy Guarino

    Should be a must read for all Americans.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mid-Continent Public Library

    Children Under Fire is based on Cox's Pulitzer finalist series of reporting on the effects of gun violence on children. Those affected go beyond the victims of gun violence to include the witnesses, survivors, those who lost loved ones, and those growing up in neighborhoods and schools surrounded by gun violence. Cox filters his account primarily through the story of pen pals Ava and Tyshaun, who develop a friendship through their shared trauma. Tyshaun lost his father in a shooting, and Ava sur Children Under Fire is based on Cox's Pulitzer finalist series of reporting on the effects of gun violence on children. Those affected go beyond the victims of gun violence to include the witnesses, survivors, those who lost loved ones, and those growing up in neighborhoods and schools surrounded by gun violence. Cox filters his account primarily through the story of pen pals Ava and Tyshaun, who develop a friendship through their shared trauma. Tyshaun lost his father in a shooting, and Ava survived a gunman's attack on her school, an attack that claimed the life of her friend, Jacob. Interspersed, Cox shares statistics, other children's and advocates' stories, and arguments for necessary change. This is a powerful and devastating account--Ava and Tyshaun will stay with me for a long time. *Reviewed by Angie in IRS*

  4. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Clear-eyed, compassionate, and devasting but not hopeless. Through detailed reporting, Cox chronicles the impact of gun violence on children, including those who witness or lose family or friends to it. And, importantly, he looks at straightforward, research-backed policy changes that can make a big difference: universal background checks, punishing adults whose improperly secured guns are used by children and/or in crimes, and increased federal funding for public health research into gun violen Clear-eyed, compassionate, and devasting but not hopeless. Through detailed reporting, Cox chronicles the impact of gun violence on children, including those who witness or lose family or friends to it. And, importantly, he looks at straightforward, research-backed policy changes that can make a big difference: universal background checks, punishing adults whose improperly secured guns are used by children and/or in crimes, and increased federal funding for public health research into gun violence.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Peacegal

    I’m sure I’m not the only person reading this book right now. Every time there’s another mass shooting incident, Americans seem to perform the same depressing rituals. We see photos of grief-stricken people crying and clinging to one another. Officials use the same news phrases that have been heard so many times they ring hollow. Politicians and talking heads snipe at one another. People demand answers and change that never come. Eventually, all but those close to the victims move on with their I’m sure I’m not the only person reading this book right now. Every time there’s another mass shooting incident, Americans seem to perform the same depressing rituals. We see photos of grief-stricken people crying and clinging to one another. Officials use the same news phrases that have been heard so many times they ring hollow. Politicians and talking heads snipe at one another. People demand answers and change that never come. Eventually, all but those close to the victims move on with their lives, and it’s forgotten until the next random attack. This well-written book seeks to shed light upon the toll random violence has upon not just those injured or killed, but rather the lasting effects upon bystanders and survivors, especially children. Cox drops us into the lives of two American children who have been profoundly affected by the shooting of loved ones, and who now struggle with PTSD as a result. Ava and Tyshaun have quite different backgrounds and living situations, but they have forged a long-distance friendship over their shared trauma. Their stories will stick with you long after you close the cover. Also memorable is the author’s reporting from a modern “school safety” expo. The place was packed with grimly bizarre offerings like bulletproof whiteboards for classroom use. Cox excels in talking about gun violence not as a political issue, but as a safety one. He doesn’t play party politics or tell his readers what to believe. He does ask readers to change some of their behaviors to keep firearms out of the hands of children.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Javaneh

    This is by far one of the most important books I have ever read. I grew up in post-Columbine Jefferson County Colorado. I lived down the street from the high school when violence erupted. I was 11 and witnessed my substitute be informed by her daughter that there was a shooting at her school and she had escaped early on. I grew up in the era of resource officers and thoughts and prayers. I never realized how school shootings were affecting me until I read this book. I now have a child who goes t This is by far one of the most important books I have ever read. I grew up in post-Columbine Jefferson County Colorado. I lived down the street from the high school when violence erupted. I was 11 and witnessed my substitute be informed by her daughter that there was a shooting at her school and she had escaped early on. I grew up in the era of resource officers and thoughts and prayers. I never realized how school shootings were affecting me until I read this book. I now have a child who goes to the elementary school across the street from Columbine. Every year there are police who patrol her school during the end of April. 22 years ago the world changed but gun violence continued with very little intervention. This book follows two children from two very different backgrounds as they navigate life following gun violence. Ava survived a school shooting that took her dearest friend and sent her into a mental frenzy she may never recover from. Tyshaun looked out to the street while at school to see sirens flashing nearby. Her thought to himself that he hoped his dad was okay but otherwise wasn’t phased by the flashing lights due in large part to the constant street violence in his DC neighborhood. He would later learn his dad was the cause of the flashing lights and he would never see his father alive again. These two children formed a friendship and bond over guns ruining their lives. Often times, books about hot topic issues can be heavy handed and scary to get a point across. This book does not do that. You see first hand accounts of how gun violence is shaping America. You see realistic statistics and facts surrounding gun violence and children and how having guns in a home can challenge your views on safety. I highly recommend this book for every American. Deaths from guns are destroying our youth and not just the ones who physically die from guns or are injured by guns but also the children surrounding their lost friends and family. Neither Tyshaun or Ava were directly impacted by a bullet but bullets may as well have torn through their lives as well. Only we can do something to change it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    Powerful, compelling and heartbreaking. Gun violence is an epidemic and public health crisis and this book illustrates the collateral damage to survivors through the eyes of two 8 year old children, one an African American boy from SE Washington D.C who lost his father and the other a young white girl from rural South Carolina who lost her best friend in a school shooting. Should be required reading for every member of Congress. One of the best non fiction books I've ever read. Masterful. Powerful, compelling and heartbreaking. Gun violence is an epidemic and public health crisis and this book illustrates the collateral damage to survivors through the eyes of two 8 year old children, one an African American boy from SE Washington D.C who lost his father and the other a young white girl from rural South Carolina who lost her best friend in a school shooting. Should be required reading for every member of Congress. One of the best non fiction books I've ever read. Masterful.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kris Eggert

    When will enough be enough? With the continued school and neighborhood shootings, easy access to guns at home, etc and still nothing being done, the question still needs to be asked. John Cox details the need for common sense gun reform through research and extensive first hand experience with children traumatized by senseless killings. I highly recommend this book. This is an important book for our times. Here's a link to a recent interview I did with the author, John Woodrow Cox. https://www.yo When will enough be enough? With the continued school and neighborhood shootings, easy access to guns at home, etc and still nothing being done, the question still needs to be asked. John Cox details the need for common sense gun reform through research and extensive first hand experience with children traumatized by senseless killings. I highly recommend this book. This is an important book for our times. Here's a link to a recent interview I did with the author, John Woodrow Cox. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMLIv...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Strabley

    This book is just a book that needs to be read. The journalistic integrity is profound. There is nothing good to be said about it, the author is a hero for putting this down on paper and telling the sad tragic story that has become a stain of shame and tragedy for this country. How can we let so many kids suffer like this?

  10. 5 out of 5

    Raja Selvakumar

    A tragic tale of how two innocent children deal with the trauma of watching those they love die due to gun violence. Excellent reporting by the author with hope for a safer future backed by increasing public frustration with the status quo and research on the topic. Highly recommend to anyone wishing to understand the current status of gun violence in America, those who look to profit off the public's fear, and groundwork for an optimistic, safer future. A tragic tale of how two innocent children deal with the trauma of watching those they love die due to gun violence. Excellent reporting by the author with hope for a safer future backed by increasing public frustration with the status quo and research on the topic. Highly recommend to anyone wishing to understand the current status of gun violence in America, those who look to profit off the public's fear, and groundwork for an optimistic, safer future.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ashleigh Welko

    Gunshot injuries are now the #2 cause of death for children and adolescents in the US, more than childhood cancer and second only to accidental deaths as the leading killer of kids in these age groups. This needs to be required reading for every parent, educator, pediatrician, and legislator in the US. Detailed statistics coupled with wrenching accounts of the myriad ways gunshots affect children every single day in this country.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    Children Under Fire is based on Cox's Pulitzer finalist series of reporting on the effects of gun violence on children. Those affected go beyond the victims of gun violence to include the witnesses, survivors, those who lost loved ones, and those growing up in neighborhoods and schools surrounded by gun violence. Cox filters his account primarily through the story of pen pals Ava and Tyshaun, who develop a friendship through their shared trauma. Tyshaun lost his father in a shooting, and Ava sur Children Under Fire is based on Cox's Pulitzer finalist series of reporting on the effects of gun violence on children. Those affected go beyond the victims of gun violence to include the witnesses, survivors, those who lost loved ones, and those growing up in neighborhoods and schools surrounded by gun violence. Cox filters his account primarily through the story of pen pals Ava and Tyshaun, who develop a friendship through their shared trauma. Tyshaun lost his father in a shooting, and Ava survived a gunman's attack on her school, an attack that claimed the life of her friend, Jacob. Interspersed, Cox shares statistics, other children's and advocates' stories, and arguments for necessary change. This is a powerful and devastating account--Ava and Tyshaun will stay with me for a long time.

  13. 5 out of 5

    vanessa

    4.5. Riveting, passionate, and insightful. I love the focus on children facing trauma as a result of gun violence happening to people close to them. A lot of the discussion about gun violence focuses on mass shootings & those murdered or maimed, so taking a look at young children who were not physically hurt but who face psychological peril as a result of gun violence was novel to me. The writing is clear-eyed but compassionate. I gained new understandings on an issue I read a lot about.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    As someone who advocates for gun violence prevention, I thought this book would just be a reminder to me of why I work at this by pulling together the statistics I read most days with my colleagues in this effort. Instead, this book brought devastating NEW reasons to do my work. Cox concentrates not on the lives lost to gun violence or the lives forever altered by physical injuries caused by gun violence but on the collateral damage to our children who witness gun violence or who have it turn th As someone who advocates for gun violence prevention, I thought this book would just be a reminder to me of why I work at this by pulling together the statistics I read most days with my colleagues in this effort. Instead, this book brought devastating NEW reasons to do my work. Cox concentrates not on the lives lost to gun violence or the lives forever altered by physical injuries caused by gun violence but on the collateral damage to our children who witness gun violence or who have it turn their lives upside down when a loved one dies in this way. The trauma (PTSD) that causes some children to have to wear headphones in public because of the possibility of sudden loud noises, that causes uncontrollable fits of rage in school or in their home, that disrupts these classrooms and homes every day - Cox conveys all of this with empathy, compassion, and an intimacy that goes straight to the heart. I sat on the bed with 7-year-old-Ava in South Carolina as she video calls with 8-year-old Tyshaun in Washington D.C.- two children linked by their common experience of being part of this collateral damage. Ava lost her best friend Jacob in a school shooting and blames herself for not being able to save him. Tyshaun's father was shot in the street outside the boy's elementary school. They became penpals because each feels the other is one of the few people that can possibly understand the people they have become in the aftermath. Cox doesn't shy away from the hard truths of our country's political priorities: "What is not rare are lockdowns, a hallmark of modern American education and a by-product of living in a developed country that has prioritized giving so many of its citizens unfettered access to lethal weapons over guaranteeing that children are not shot to death in classrooms fifteen or twenty times a year." Or the size of the epidemic we are allowing to happen: "The number of students who experienced gun violence on their campuses in 2018 could have filled all twenty thousand seats inside Madison Square Garden and another five those outside it." He finishes his heartbreaking look at what America is doing to our children not with a cry to repeal the 2nd Amendment or to confiscate all guns, but with an appeal for three actions that could have a real impact on this problem: universal background checks on ALL gun sales; a substantial investment in educating gun owners about how critically important it is to prevent children from accessing the deadly weapons and to hold them accountable when their negligence results in children harming themselves or others; and the need for funding of much more research into what mitigations are effective. "I would like to write, after all these years that Tyshaun doesn't need to be afraid of a stray bullet any more, just as I would like to write that Ava's bouts of fury and anguish have subsided. That Tyshaun's brother, AJ, hasn't been grappling with the permanence of death since he was two. That Ava's brother, Cameron, isn't now dealing with his own fits of anger. That Jacob's sister, Zoey, doesn't obsess over how he died, and that his brother, Spencer, has some recollection of how he lived. That the students at Eagle Academy will never again draw pictures of shootings and gravestones or that the students at Townville Elementary will never again duck when a balloon pops. That Ava's classmate Siena Kibilko doesn't spend a single moment planning for the next shooting at her school... That Kaitlyn Towles, whose ninth-grade friend was shot seventeen times, persuaded the people in charge of Washington D.C. to invest in the therapy and support her Anancostia High classmates so badly needed. That Emma Gonzalez and Edna Chavez and Zion Kelly, the young activists who never intended to be, won't have to keep giving speeches about the people they loved and lost. That Derek Turner and Jesse Osbourne never got ahold of those pistols. That Andrew McPhatter and Jacob Hall are still alive. I would like to write all of that, but I can't, and I can't because America didn't say 'enough' in time for any of them, and until it does there will be no end to the pain that gun violence inflicts on our children."

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jake Orcutt

    Children Under File is a book about childrens’ experiences with gun violence that needed to be told, but one that I wish didn’t have to be told. We all know of the unlucky souls that are shot by a gunman, but we never hear about the victims that were never shot, but are affected by the violence all the same. Victims of gun violence are not only the ones that show bullet wounds. To reinforce that argument, Jonathan Cox tells the personal accounts of 2 children affected by gun violence, Ava and Ty Children Under File is a book about childrens’ experiences with gun violence that needed to be told, but one that I wish didn’t have to be told. We all know of the unlucky souls that are shot by a gunman, but we never hear about the victims that were never shot, but are affected by the violence all the same. Victims of gun violence are not only the ones that show bullet wounds. To reinforce that argument, Jonathan Cox tells the personal accounts of 2 children affected by gun violence, Ava and Tyshuan. Both have had their lives drastically altered by the actions of a gun man, that have killed their best friend and their father, respectively. Now, they are prone to bouts of anger, uncontrollable tantrums and depression. Both were extremely happy and “normal” kids before their lives were shattered. It really hits home that a school shooting not only affects those that have been shot and their families, but anyone that was on the school campus the day of a school shooting. Instead of, say, 34 immediate victims of the Parkland shootings, we are talking about potentially thousands of kids that will have their lives forever changed due to a lockdown and knowing that they will never be able to see their friends again. Jonathan also argues that half of these school shootings could be easily preventable without taking away 2nd Amendment rights. Universal background checks and laws requiring adults to lock up their guns in their house (so kids cannot access them) would prevent thousands of deaths and not stop any law abiding citizen from getting a gun. The fact that no laws like this exist and are continually shot down is an embarrassment of the US Government. Overall this was a great read. It is a very heavy topic to read about, but necessary to understand our modern gun-loving world. I recommend this book for anyone raising kids or thinking about raising kids in the future.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Clare Bird

    Hey Johnny Boy- I give you 5 out of 5 birds for Children Under Fire: An American Crisis. My mom recommended this to me after hearing about it on NPR. She knows I'm fascinated about school shootings and the effects it has on people. And as someone who has read almost every school shooting book out there, this is a must for EVERYONE. If you're a democrat, republican, religious, non-religious, gun-owner or not. READ IT. If you have children or grandchildren or any children in your lives read it. It Hey Johnny Boy- I give you 5 out of 5 birds for Children Under Fire: An American Crisis. My mom recommended this to me after hearing about it on NPR. She knows I'm fascinated about school shootings and the effects it has on people. And as someone who has read almost every school shooting book out there, this is a must for EVERYONE. If you're a democrat, republican, religious, non-religious, gun-owner or not. READ IT. If you have children or grandchildren or any children in your lives read it. It's a hard read, but we have to do hard things in our lives. This book explores the trauma of children who are either in the school or have a family member that has been killed by a gun. The stories of kids who were in another classroom and the PTSD they have were heartbreaking. My favorite part was the epilogue where he said everyone should read it. They aren't asking us to get rid of our guns. John talked about background checks, and gun safety, watching the warning signs in teens. If you're not checking your kids social media, you don't know what they are actually thinking. #truth. Anyways... Loved it! Please read it and do it with an open mind. I'm happy for you to have guns, but SOMETHING needs to be done to change the trajectory of our children's future.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Mcdaniel-lindsey

    The narrative form makes this the perfect book for someone who wants to understand the trauma children experience in our gun violence-ridden society. The facts are all there, just woven into the human experiences of children and their families. I have to feel this author could be a persuasive voice in the polarized debate about gun safety because his argument is so clear clear. Our children are being harmed. Not just those who are shot, but those who live with the shooting of others in their nei The narrative form makes this the perfect book for someone who wants to understand the trauma children experience in our gun violence-ridden society. The facts are all there, just woven into the human experiences of children and their families. I have to feel this author could be a persuasive voice in the polarized debate about gun safety because his argument is so clear clear. Our children are being harmed. Not just those who are shot, but those who live with the shooting of others in their neighborhood, in their school. In the spring of 2020 the Rand Corporation came out with a rigorous study of gun policies in states and the effects on lives saved. The number one policy we should adopt everywhere is safe storage of firearms in homes. The statistical analyses the Rand study provides is illuminated by the haunting story of a family whose life is turned upside down because a son knew where his dad kept his gun and there was an unintentional shooting and death.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

    "This book does not call for revolution or a repeal of the Second Amendment. Included here are true stories about children who have either died or endured tremendous pain because of gun violence that society has allowed to continue. I did not write this as appeal to Democrats or a condemnation of Republicans, but instead, as a call to action for anyone in this country who care about their children." -John Woodrow Cox This conclusion that author shares is a perfect way to describe why everyone sho "This book does not call for revolution or a repeal of the Second Amendment. Included here are true stories about children who have either died or endured tremendous pain because of gun violence that society has allowed to continue. I did not write this as appeal to Democrats or a condemnation of Republicans, but instead, as a call to action for anyone in this country who care about their children." -John Woodrow Cox This conclusion that author shares is a perfect way to describe why everyone should read this book. This book should be flying off shelves. I felt such deep emotions as I read through the pages. One story struck me with such sorrow that I don't think it will ever leave me. That is the point. We should all care about this as Americans. We shouldn't have to personally have a child in our life die from gun violence to care.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Carol Brusegar

    OUTSTANDING new book about the impact of gun violence on children through stories of children. Importantly, it shows how this continues for years even into adulthood. The thread through the book are the stories of children who experienced a school shooting in Townville, SC and those who faced regular firearm deaths in Southeast Washington, DC. Others are drawn in as well. The effects of the trauma on children, teachers, parents, and communities are so well described. Included are the impacts of OUTSTANDING new book about the impact of gun violence on children through stories of children. Importantly, it shows how this continues for years even into adulthood. The thread through the book are the stories of children who experienced a school shooting in Townville, SC and those who faced regular firearm deaths in Southeast Washington, DC. Others are drawn in as well. The effects of the trauma on children, teachers, parents, and communities are so well described. Included are the impacts of active shooter drills on the fear and anxiety of students. The author, after all of his research, interviews and coverage of the issue, raises three key ways to address this issue: 1) Universal Background Checks, 2) Substantial investment in educating gun owners about keeping their guns secure from children accessing them, and hold them accountable if they don't, and 3) Serious research to determine what solutions will really work beyond that.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    My goodness. What can I say? I never expected a non-fiction book to make me weep. Repeatedly. I figured this would be a dry read that just reinforced my views on gun sense laws. I'm someone who has thought a lot about gun safety in the US, and debated with friends, family, and strangers about it. But I'd never really even considered the issues the author brings to the forefront in this book. Yeah, I guess we occasionally hear about the survivors who were wounded in well-publicized shootings, but My goodness. What can I say? I never expected a non-fiction book to make me weep. Repeatedly. I figured this would be a dry read that just reinforced my views on gun sense laws. I'm someone who has thought a lot about gun safety in the US, and debated with friends, family, and strangers about it. But I'd never really even considered the issues the author brings to the forefront in this book. Yeah, I guess we occasionally hear about the survivors who were wounded in well-publicized shootings, but always in the context that 'at least they are here.' This book, in fine, page-turnable detail, shows the SHATTERING effects of gun violence on those who see, hear, live near, and otherwise can't escape it. In the epilogue, the author offers 3 commonsense beginning solutions to the problem. They are SO easy. My biggest remaining question is, "How do we get 'not the choir' to read the book?"

  21. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    A very unique and in depth look at America’s troubled history with gun violence I really appreciated that this book decided to go in-depth on shootings beyond the big ones, to show the true trauma of gun violence to children and families. The through documentation of Ava’s journey from a sweet little girl to a PTSD sufferer to an advocate due to a madman committing a school shooting killing her best friend at 7 is well worth reading. As someone with PTSD from other issues, I can identify with th A very unique and in depth look at America’s troubled history with gun violence I really appreciated that this book decided to go in-depth on shootings beyond the big ones, to show the true trauma of gun violence to children and families. The through documentation of Ava’s journey from a sweet little girl to a PTSD sufferer to an advocate due to a madman committing a school shooting killing her best friend at 7 is well worth reading. As someone with PTSD from other issues, I can identify with the symptoms described & the anxiety of parents trying to find help for a lifetime of care due to broken public schools. It’s bitter confirmation. Furthermore the book takes a fair but blunt look at the post-Parkland politics. Yes, that final part is important too.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Fitzgerald

    *A difficult book to read and review due to the subject matter.* Memorable Quotes: (Pg.206)-“What’s not rare are lockdowns, a hallmark of modern American education and a by-product of living in a developed country that has prioritized giving so many of its citizens unfettered access to lethal weapons over guaranteeing that children are not shot to death in classrooms fifteen or twenty times a year.” (Pg.228)-“The number of students who experienced gun violence on their campuses in 2018 could have f *A difficult book to read and review due to the subject matter.* Memorable Quotes: (Pg.206)-“What’s not rare are lockdowns, a hallmark of modern American education and a by-product of living in a developed country that has prioritized giving so many of its citizens unfettered access to lethal weapons over guaranteeing that children are not shot to death in classrooms fifteen or twenty times a year.” (Pg.228)-“The number of students who experienced gun violence on their campuses in 2018 could have filled all twenty thousand seats inside Madison Square Garden and another five thousand outside it.” For me, what stood out about this book was the main point that the author kept emphasizing; children don’t have to be touched by, hear, or even see a shooter to be traumatized. I keep hoping that someday, the need for this type of book to be written will cease to exist... Trigger Warnings: Children involved in severe trauma, descriptions of gun violence, incident of child committing suicide

  23. 4 out of 5

    Eriche

    This one focused more on the case studies than data, but had a fair presentation of both. I tend to like books that are more statistics heavy and lean more on the numbers however, I felt the case studies were really well presented. My only critique is that I’m always suspicious of claims that children under ten are “super fans” of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and it makes me think there’s lying going on. Michelle Obama, I might buy. Even a Kamala. But RBG? I don’t really know any {American} kids though s This one focused more on the case studies than data, but had a fair presentation of both. I tend to like books that are more statistics heavy and lean more on the numbers however, I felt the case studies were really well presented. My only critique is that I’m always suspicious of claims that children under ten are “super fans” of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and it makes me think there’s lying going on. Michelle Obama, I might buy. Even a Kamala. But RBG? I don’t really know any {American} kids though so maybe they’re going bananas for RBG. Anyway, assuming there’s journalistic integrity - smash hit, well written, informative, solution-oriented and balanced!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Hillary Copsey

    This is heartbreaking -- but even-handed. Cox mixes personal stories with data to layout the extent of the gun violence crisis and its affect on children. He lays out, at the very end, three actions America could take to curb gun violence, and not one is taking away guns. This is the kind of book that is likely to make people on either side of the issue frustrated, and also give them moments of agreement, which, to me, suggests it's good journalism. This is heartbreaking -- but even-handed. Cox mixes personal stories with data to layout the extent of the gun violence crisis and its affect on children. He lays out, at the very end, three actions America could take to curb gun violence, and not one is taking away guns. This is the kind of book that is likely to make people on either side of the issue frustrated, and also give them moments of agreement, which, to me, suggests it's good journalism.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Wolovich

    We need to do better to protect our children and communities. I can't understand why our government hasn't allocated more money to gun violence research or enacted universal background checks for anyone purchasing a gun even at a trade show. Cox provides a thought provoking, well written book while carefully balancing the emotional turmoils of the families and individuals affected by gun violence. We need to do better to protect our children and communities. I can't understand why our government hasn't allocated more money to gun violence research or enacted universal background checks for anyone purchasing a gun even at a trade show. Cox provides a thought provoking, well written book while carefully balancing the emotional turmoils of the families and individuals affected by gun violence.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kati

    3.5 stars The subject is important, and this book focuses not specifically on the gun crimes, but on the lasting affect gun violence has on the youth in this country, from PTSD and anxiety to learning challenges later on. However, the writing in the book is sort of all over the place. It hops around a lot of still hard to see what the thesis is.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    This book won Goddard Riverside’s Social Justice book prize last year and I finally read it. It is beautifully written, meticulously researched, reasonably argued and completely moving. A difficult topic, it takes a wide and yet personal exploration of what all this gun violence is doing to our children. Infuriating, heart breaking but also inspiring and hopeful, I highly recommend.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Connor Farrell

    Truly exceptional journalism! Children Under Fire lays the groundwork for the gun debate and provides crystal clear facts to drive the message home. John Woodrow Cox offers a non-partisan look into how gun violence and school shootings are affecting our nation in ways that some never comprehend.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Sampaio

    So well written, focusing on the trauma of gun violence on children, and discussing information and statistics about gun violence and reform. Highly highly recommend!!!! Believe this is something everyone should read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    A tough but important read. I hope many people read it and begin making real change. As this book shows us, gun violence goes well beyond affecting a few, rather affecting most. Mr. Cox, thank you for your efforts to educate on this very important topic.

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