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Never Ran, Never Will

Never Ran, Never Will

Boyhood and Football in a Changing American Inner City

This uplifting story of a boys’ football team shines light on the under-appreciated virtues that can bloom in impoverished neighborhoods, even as nearby communities exclude them from economic progress.

The Mo Better Jaguars are the pride of Brownsville, a poor neighborhood in Brooklyn where New York City’s decades of economic and social improvement have had little effect. As parts of America increasingly turn away from football, Brownsville’s parents and coaches see virtue in the game’s physicality and competitiveness: refuge from the gang feuding that consumes much of the streets, and valuable lessons on how to survive in that unforgiving environment. In their best years, the Jaguars have been regional champions, and sent players to the highest levels of college football.

This book, years in the reporting, tells the story of the Jaguars and the children — some as young as nine — who grow and change as they enter this world. Oomz, Gio, Hart, and the rest of the team are charismatic and vulnerable and hardening all at once, a powerful cast of characters whose lives take shape in these pages. Their stories of learning about manhood, teamwork, and certain hard truths about American life chip away at the myth that the norms and values of low-income communities perpetuate poverty.
Never Ran, Never Will is a complex, humane story about the new world of America’s inner cities. Largely ignored by the public discourse, these communities suffer economic pain, crime, and a sense that progress belongs to other people, all the while fighting to keep their unique, intimate culture strong.
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Genre: Nonfiction / Sports & Recreation / Football

On Sale: September 4th 2018

Price: $16.99 / $21.99 (CDN)

Page Count: 368

ISBN-13: 9781541767867

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reader reviews


"Refreshing and raw, Never Ran, Never Will tracks the boys of Brownsville, Brooklyn as they age out of innocence and details the efforts of the devoted men and women laboring to guide them into adulthood. By the last page of Albert Samaha's compelling debut, you don't just want the boys of the Mo Better Jaguars to make it - you realize that we all need them to."
Wesley Lowery, Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post national
correspondent and author of the New York Times bestselling They Can't
Kill Us All

"Never Ran, Never Will is the irresistible story of the Mo Better Jaguars, a football team of hard-luck boys in low-income Brownsville, Brooklyn. With dazzling prose, Albert Samaha's big beautiful book about teamwork and ambition, growing up and breaking away, will touch you with its heart and grace."
Don Van Natta, Jr., ESPN senior writer, New York Times bestselling author, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize

"Good narrative nonfiction requires a kind of alchemy-thorough reporting and incisive writing are essential, but the most important ingredient is time. Albert Samaha's years-long commitment to this tale of striving Brooklyn kids and their dedicated football coaches shines through on every page. The result is a rare gift: a story with genuine characters, real texture, and deep, sensitive insight."
Nate Blakeslee, author of American Wolf and Tulia