William Barnwell - "Angels in the Wilderness"
From the Foreword: This marvelous book is about life-changing stories, mostly by young black people who have seldom gotten a fair shake in life, let alone much of a second chance. They are poignant tales, often gripping. Some will amaze you, others grab you by the gut and refuse to let go. Most of the stories are about coming of age in New Orleans, a city that has learned to live with tragedy. New Orleans has been cast in several different lights over the yearsas painted lady or sportsmans paradox; as the murder-rate capital of these United States, or the central conveyor belt for Louisianas overstuffed jails and prisons. But one characteristic is easily overlooked: its irrepressibility. Resilience is practically tattooed on New Orleanss soul. That stiff upper lip comes across in the stories William Barnwell persuaded his books interviewees to share with its readers . . . .Whats so remarkable about this anthology is the willful banishment of anger. Rejection of revenge goes against the grain. The urge to strike back against violence, whether witnessed or experienced, can be all consuming. But these are remarkable peoplemostly young, but some old; generally black, but a few white. And all of them have elected to bend their energies toward mitigating violence rather than fanning its flames. For all of the tragedy that has befallen New Orleans over the years (and since Katrina there has been a gracious plenty), Angels in the Wilderness is an indispensable reminder that light can still pierce the darkness. Its a book worth reading then contemplating. Lawrence N. Powell