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Best Intentions: The Education and Killing of Edmund Perry

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An exploration of how Edmund Perry, a 17 year old black honors student from Harlem, was killed soon after graduation by a young white plain clothes policeman in an alleged mugging attempt.


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An exploration of how Edmund Perry, a 17 year old black honors student from Harlem, was killed soon after graduation by a young white plain clothes policeman in an alleged mugging attempt.

30 review for Best Intentions: The Education and Killing of Edmund Perry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Crystal Belle

    although this book does a good job of explaining how black students struggle at predominantly white boarding schools, the author, who is a journalist, still manages to provide a biased account of what happened to edmund perry, a young man from harlem who was killed by a cop after graduating from exeter just 10 days before. he was on his way to stanford on a full scholarship. the author seems more focused on how eddie's african-american "impoverished" background leads to his downfall, as opposed although this book does a good job of explaining how black students struggle at predominantly white boarding schools, the author, who is a journalist, still manages to provide a biased account of what happened to edmund perry, a young man from harlem who was killed by a cop after graduating from exeter just 10 days before. he was on his way to stanford on a full scholarship. the author seems more focused on how eddie's african-american "impoverished" background leads to his downfall, as opposed to many of the systematic elements of an unjust educational system, failed public policies, and housing discrimination that all contribute to eddie's death.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Z.

    i must admit i did not finish this book. the author biased opinion (although he wanted to make sure we knew he was a true white liberal who marched with dr. king)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dianna

    While doing investigative reporting on the death of a promising black student, the author uncovers rich material on the experiences of black youths from low socioeconomic background who attended prep schools populated with rich white students. It’s eye-opening to read how different cultures clash internally within these students and a good reminder that often we don’t know or understand our fellow man nor often ourselves. The author himself doesn’t seem to realize his own bias in the telling of While doing investigative reporting on the death of a promising black student, the author uncovers rich material on the experiences of black youths from low socioeconomic background who attended prep schools populated with rich white students. It’s eye-opening to read how different cultures clash internally within these students and a good reminder that often we don’t know or understand our fellow man nor often ourselves. The author himself doesn’t seem to realize his own bias in the telling of the story, which was the most disappointing part of the book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    I read this during my first class for a master’s of education at The College of New Jersey. We also watched the Law & Order episode depicting the story.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Karson

    This book sucked me in quite naturally. I thought it was really well written and well reported. The author goes through testimony after testimony trying to uncover the story of this kid. He saves the juiciest ones for last, which is the way you should do it I guess. It is about the death of Edmund Perry, an african american student from Harlem that got into a hoidy toidy upper crust mostly white school in New Hampshire called Exeter. He was on his way to Stanford on a full ride after high school This book sucked me in quite naturally. I thought it was really well written and well reported. The author goes through testimony after testimony trying to uncover the story of this kid. He saves the juiciest ones for last, which is the way you should do it I guess. It is about the death of Edmund Perry, an african american student from Harlem that got into a hoidy toidy upper crust mostly white school in New Hampshire called Exeter. He was on his way to Stanford on a full ride after high school, but was shot and killed while reportedly trying to mug a white undercover police officer in Harlem about ten days after his graduation from Exeter. The book is an exploration of why and how this could happen. Lately I've seen more and more how individuals grow up in thier own universes. The culture in Harlem is an absolutely different universe than the culture most of the kids that got into Exeter had ever been exposed to. As a result Eddy was not so much a human to the students there, but more of a curiosity to them. He was something they had heard of, but never intimately encountered. Eddy was also a curiosity within his own neighborhood. Once he got accepted to a wealthy "white" prep school in New Hampshire, he no longer felt he belonged to his home neighborhood in harlem. As the years passed, it got harder and harder for Eddy to be the rock and representative of Harlem in the misunderstanding world of Exeter. He had no place where he could just be himself. The pressure got to him and...boom. He does something that makes everyone realize that none of them really knew him at all. I resonated with this book becuase I have felt the pressures of trying to live in what felt like different worlds and trying to resolve them within myself. I respect Ed Perry becuase his worlds were much further apart than the ones i have struggled so much to reconcile. It is sad it ended the way it did for him, but it shows just how far apart Harlem is from Exeter; the way it tortured him to try and live in both worlds as an adolescent developing his self concept. His life is one more instance that forces us to look at ourselves as Americans and ask why these worlds are so hard to reconcile if they are in the same country.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Bell

    I picked this book up off my future mother-in-law's shelf while home for the holiday and book-less. I had never heard of it and the cover looked pretty tacky, but it came with warm recommendations from most members of the family. Convinced, I started reading. I am not typically a non-fiction reader, but this story moves pretty quickly and is quite captivating. Essentially, the father of a student at Exeter in the 80s covers the inside story of the life and eventual "murder" of an African-America I picked this book up off my future mother-in-law's shelf while home for the holiday and book-less. I had never heard of it and the cover looked pretty tacky, but it came with warm recommendations from most members of the family. Convinced, I started reading. I am not typically a non-fiction reader, but this story moves pretty quickly and is quite captivating. Essentially, the father of a student at Exeter in the 80s covers the inside story of the life and eventual "murder" of an African-American scholarship student at Exeter, one of the most prestigious private boarding schools in the country. Edmund Perry, who grew up in Harlem, showed a lot of promise and ended up in the WASPy bubble that is Exeter; weeks after graduation, he and his older brother attempt to mug an undercover cop, and Eddie is fatally shot. The book details the ins and outs of Eddie's lives, as it is made crystal clear that his home life and his school life are dramatically different, and thus Eddie acts accordingly. I liked that the book simply presented the facts without forcing any polarized opinions or theories. There are clear conclusions to draw, as well as lessons to be learned by educators, parents, government officials, police officers, and the list goes on. I did have to keep reminding myself that this book was written in 1987, and that thankfully things have changed since then. Anson interviews friends and relatives of Eddie's, both black and white, from Harlem and Exeter and in between, but it is not until rather close to the end that he discovers a twist that starts to slide the pieces into place. I think most educators would appreciate the glance into the role and experience of the minority considering the current state of education in the U.S. It was also interesting for me, while currently working at a boarding school, to consider the implications for our own students, even though there is no race differential at Liger.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Approximate dates of start & completion. I read this book because it's on the bookroom list for seniors, and it seems like a book I can use with my honors seniors as an entry point to discussing race and race relations in this country. The book was published (and the event the author is examining occurred) in the mid-1980s, and yet, it could have happened yesterday. Raises a lot of questions about subjects like race, class, inner cities, prep schools, but also questions of craft. Ex: Why does th Approximate dates of start & completion. I read this book because it's on the bookroom list for seniors, and it seems like a book I can use with my honors seniors as an entry point to discussing race and race relations in this country. The book was published (and the event the author is examining occurred) in the mid-1980s, and yet, it could have happened yesterday. Raises a lot of questions about subjects like race, class, inner cities, prep schools, but also questions of craft. Ex: Why does this writer get to tell this young man's story? It was a fascinating read, but some of the writer's assumptions and the ending are incredibly frustrating. Almost like the writer is proving stereotypes (drug use & dealing).

  8. 5 out of 5

    Elyssa

    This book combines two of my favorite genres: social justice and true crime. This is the story of Edmund Perry, a young man from Harlem who attended Phillips Exeter Academy through a scholarship program. Immediately after graduating, he reportedly attempted to rob a man in Harlem, who was actually an undercover police officer, who then killed Edmund in self-defense. In exploring Edmund's life and what led to his death, the author explores issues of race, class, and justice. The author presents t This book combines two of my favorite genres: social justice and true crime. This is the story of Edmund Perry, a young man from Harlem who attended Phillips Exeter Academy through a scholarship program. Immediately after graduating, he reportedly attempted to rob a man in Harlem, who was actually an undercover police officer, who then killed Edmund in self-defense. In exploring Edmund's life and what led to his death, the author explores issues of race, class, and justice. The author presents the story as he uncovers information with a surprise twist at the end.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stephon

    a very good book that still had its share of flaws (the author's bias in some places was hard to get through). but overall, it a fantastic insight into education, race, cultural schizophrenia and the false prospects of upward mobility. the book also displays how even the most liberal-minded White person could still be culturally insensitive or prejudiced. I also saw a lot of myself in the teenage Edmund Perry. the circumstances of his death depress me greatly. a very good book that still had its share of flaws (the author's bias in some places was hard to get through). but overall, it a fantastic insight into education, race, cultural schizophrenia and the false prospects of upward mobility. the book also displays how even the most liberal-minded White person could still be culturally insensitive or prejudiced. I also saw a lot of myself in the teenage Edmund Perry. the circumstances of his death depress me greatly.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Barnes

    When I finished this book, which was grim, I was hoping that the issues had improved since Edmund Perry's death, but read in the New York Times Book Review an account of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace and knew that it hadn't. When I finished this book, which was grim, I was hoping that the issues had improved since Edmund Perry's death, but read in the New York Times Book Review an account of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace and knew that it hadn't.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Raquel

    I do not like this book; however, I do like it for teaching bias in non-fiction literature to my students. Lots of blatant and obvious bias at the same time it deals with relevant real world issues. #Black Lives Matter

  12. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    This book was recommended to me by a friend. There are so many parallels to what is happening today. If you care about diversity in schools, this book is powerful.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rose Love

    Excellent esp knowing the PEA school !

  14. 4 out of 5

    Hillary Rayport

    This book was written in the 80s and is a period piece. It's tragic how much has changed in the past 30 years, yet so little progress has been made. This book was written in the 80s and is a period piece. It's tragic how much has changed in the past 30 years, yet so little progress has been made.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Madeleine Morales

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nicky Lynn

  17. 5 out of 5

    scootenanny

  18. 4 out of 5

    Teresa M

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joe Miller

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kyle

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bbeka_aro

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tin Yan Lee

  24. 5 out of 5

    DH

  25. 5 out of 5

    Geoffrey Cajigas

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cecilia Rabess

  27. 4 out of 5

    Daniellepullia

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shameka

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kim

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