When Barack Obama was asked what had been the principal frustration of his time in the Oval Office, his instant reply was that he had been utterly stymied on gun control. Amid the carnage (most shootings, aside from those with multiple victims, go unreported), 2,500 children and teenagers die in America every year in incidents involving guns, a number unimaginable in any other Western country. Legislators are in thrall to the National Rifle Association (NRA) and even the president is powerless. Gary Younge, in this trenchant, well-argued and very sad book, takes one day, 23 November 2013, at random to study the problem. On that day, ten boys under twenty died in the USA. They were victims of mistaken identity, accident, revenge killing, random murder. Alongside the stories of the killings, Younge examines the reasons – guns and social conditions – behind the bloodshed. It is powerful stuff.
Younge lived and worked (as a correspondent for The Guardian) in the USA for twelve years, eight of them in New York and four in Chicago. He is a black Briton married to a black American and has two children. No British correspondent has penetrated so deeply the