Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Undertow - Helen Parkhurst

A Story Of A Boy Called Tony


Undertow is the biography of Tony who, in his twenty-seven years of life, experienced crime, punishment and redemption. Bred in New York's Harlem, the son of Italian parents, he took part in his first hold-up at the age of thirteen and graduated to a five-year sentence for peddling heroin at the age of seventeen. On his release from prison he married and attempted to earn an honest living but, through his wife's folly, was obliged to leave the sanctuary he had found in Connecticut and return to New York. There he was shot by his former associates and his body thrown on the municipal garbage dump.

Tony's story is true. Indeed, large sections of it are vividly told in his own words recorded by Miss Helen Parkhurst, the distinguished educationalist who became Tony's counsellor during his long struggle to break with his past. Her book has all the inevitability, and something of the poetry, of a Greek tragedy-a man's progress towards personal integrity which is achieved only at the cost of his life.

In his foreword Mr C. A. Joyce writes: 'This is a book that should be in every Teachers' Training College Library and it should be read by all who are concerned with the adolescent in Clubs and elsewhere...If you do pick it up you will find it difficult to put down.' Tony's history will be of close interest to the general reader as well as to teachers, to all who work with young people, and to sociologists.

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