We Carry Their Bones is a compelling and heartrending account of the notorious Dozier School for Boys by Dr. Erin Kimmerle. Released 14th June 2022 by HarperCollins on their William Morrow imprint, it's 256 pages and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.
The last few years have seen a number of apologies and (too late and too few) reparations for appalling crimes committed against children deemed unwanted, delinquent, poor, or the wrong ethnicity (Native and black). This is another such, from a forensic anthropologist who was engaged to excavate the remains (often unmarked and mixed up) from the Dozier school after the state of Florida wished to sell the land on which it once stood and which was blocked by relatives and survivors of the school's 110 year history.
It's written as an exposé, and suffers a bit for the inflammatory outraged style of writing. The facts of the case are horrific enough, over the course of the school's history, likely over 100 students (and two members of staff) died or were killed while resident at, or escaping from, the school. It was in operation until 2011 and only closed after decades of serious and undeniable allegations of abuse, sexual and physical torture, and inhumane conditions.
The book does include numerous photographs, charts, and facsimiles, but it is not annotated. The language is layman accessible and not rigorously academic, which is a positive feature, but some better annotation would have made the whole a more structured, less chaotic read.
Four stars, a brutal and depressing read. I found myself outraged throughout most of the book by the disgusting cover-ups and official impediments to open investigation up to the absolute end.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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