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The Bonus Book of the Week is “The Courage to Survive” by Dennis J. Kucinich, published in 2007. This raw, emotional, personal story was similar to those of: journalist Joe Queenan (Closing Time), and teacher Tara Westover (Educated).
Born in October 1946 in Cleveland, the author had a difficult childhood in an ever-growing, poverty-stricken family. His mother was of Irish ancestry; his father, Croatian. The latter was a mean, physically abusive drunk. In his daily life, the author was fortunate to receive guidance and life-lessons from community role models such as his parents, teachers, coaches, his many relatives, (Catholic) priests, godparents, etc.
Nevertheless, the author’s take on life by the time he reached his teens was as follows: “The violence I witnessed at home percolated … I was ready to unleash it, but not in the street… What do you do when you are a kid and you feel violent? Do you look in your neighborhood for people to beat up? Do you vandalize? Do you just plain raise hell?”
More and more in America, such young males who feel like powder kegs pick up firearms and shoot innocent strangers or rival gang members, or engage in cyber attacks and fraud. Instead, if they are lucky– their anger is channeled into competitive sports, the military, performing arts, or politics.
Read the book to learn about the forces that shaped the author’s start in politics.