Common section

“Easily the most passionate, and certain to be the most passionately debated, book about American education in several years … A classic American muckraker with an eloquent prose style, Kozol offers … an old-fashioned brand of moral outrage that will affect every reader whose heart has not yet turned to stone.”

—Entertainment Weekly

“Moving … Shocking … Heartbreaking.”

—Ruth Sidel, The Nation

“It is neither ironic nor paradoxical to call Savage Inequalities a wonderful book—for Kozol makes it clear that there are wonderful teachers and wonderful students in every American school, no matter what ugliness, violence, and horror surround the building.”

Chicago Tribune

“The great virtue of Jonathan Kozol’s new book about inner-city schools is that it overcomes that ‘everybody knows’ problem by bringing an undulled capacity for shock and outrage to a tour of bad schools across the country. As soon as Kozol begins leading the way through a procession of overcrowded, underheated, textbookless, barely taught classrooms, the thought he surely intended to engender begins to take form: How can this be?”

Washington Post Book World

“Poor children of all colors are increasingly looked upon as surplus baggage, mistakes that should never have happened. Indeed, an older view is returning that any attempts to educate the lower orders are doomed to fail. There can be more than one way to read the title of Jonathan Kozol’s depressing—and essential—book.”

—Andrew Hacker, New York Times Book Review

“Mr. Kozol exposes lemons in American educational facilities in the same way Ralph Nader attacked Detroit automobile makers.”

—Herbert Mitgang, New York Times

“This book digs so deeply into the tragedy of the American system of public education that it wrenches the reader’s psyche.… A must-read for every parent, every educator, and every relevant policymaker.”

—Alex Haley, author of Roots and
The Autobiography of Malcolm X

“A powerful appeal to save children by redistributing the wealth. It will cause angry, but perhaps fruitful, debate.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Startling and compelling … Crucial to any serious debate on the current state of American education.”

Publishers Weekly

“A superb, heart-wrenching portrait of the resolute injustice which decimates so many of America’s urban schools.”

—David J. Garrow, Pulitzer Prize–winning
author of Bearing the Cross


A Clarification About Dates and Data in This Book

The events in this book take place for the most part between 1988 and 1990, although a few events somewhat precede this period. Most events, however, are narrated in the present tense. This is important to keep in mind because statistics, such as money spent in a particular school district, or a description of the staff or student body in a given school, apply to the year of which I’m speaking, which is indicated in the text or notes.

The names of students in this book have sometimes been disguised at their request or that of school officials. The names of all adults are real, although in a few cases adults are not named at all at their request. Documentation for statistics and matters of record in this book is provided in the notes beginning on this page.



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