5 Star book reviews of author Weldon Shaw’s “THE RISE AND FALL OF OUR YOUTH and PACHUCO”
Title: The Rise and Fall of Our Youth (releases June 19, amazon.com – Barnes and Noble)
Author: Shaw, Weldon
Copyright Date: January 2015
Number of Pages: 163
Non-Fiction, History, Family Systems, Criminal Justice, Sociology
Shaw has provided readers with an excellent overview of how diminishing family value and overprotective parenting styles have led to many negative life outcomes throughout American society. A former correctional officer, gang investigator and parent, Shaw provides readers with an unique perspective of the flaws in human character that are the byproduct of a failing philosophy of parental responsibility. Citing statistics on school
violence, teen pregnancy, bullying, etc., Shaw demonstrates how inadequately parented children become poorly organized adults with looser personal values that lend to non-law abiding lifestyle choices. A sense of entitlement, the lack of goal setting, inactive lifestyle, poor socialization, and under appreciation for the wellbeing of others, are all traits Shaw identifies as attributable to overprotective and inadequate parenting. This
notion is the central premise of Shaw’s perspective which spotlights the tidal wave of listless, uninspired, and non-ambitious young people seen so commonly in the modernday. The book is a must read for students of
criminology, family therapists, school administrators, treatment professionals, peace officers, criminal court system employees, and sociology buffs. Shaw’s insights were keen observations which compelled the reader to delve further and analyze the etiology of prominent social negatives commonly seen throughout the United States. This process of introspective societal examination is convincingly presented by Shaw who unabashedly articulates a view that flouts the conventions of political correctness and the liberal leaning norms of mainstream theorists and social commentators.
Suggestions for Classroom Use/ Curriculum Connections
Curriculum applications for the the Raising of Angels is broad. The text is appropriate for students ranging from high school to those pursuing advanced graduate degrees. Shaw outlines multiple areas that could serve as fodder for classroom assignments such as essays, short stories, presentations, reports, and theses. Persons ages 15-55 are the demographic whom would benefit most from this insightful treatise on sociological dynamics in 21st century American society.
NYS & Commom Core Standards Connections – Social Studies, History, Literature
Recommended Grade Level(s) – Grade 10 – Graduate School. I highly recommend this book for this grade
range with no reservations.
Reviewed by – Dr. Abdul M. Isira – 2/12/15
Pachuco novel review by Book Columnist Dan Barnett
California gang origins
Web: weldonshawauthor.wordpress.com —
“Pachuco” by Weldon Shaw
Available at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com
Posted: 05/30/15, 4:11 PM PDT | Updated: 2 days ago
According to a news release, first-time novelist Weldon Shaw retired from the California Department of Corrections in 2012 where he was a gang investigator. Now living in Corning, Shaw draws on his knowledge of gang history in presenting the book-length narrative of a character named Emilio Cerna.
“Pachuco” ($16.95 in paperback from Black Rose Writing; Amazon.com, barnesandnoble also for Amazon Kindle) invites the reader to listen to the reminiscences of 80-year-old Emilio, “through four generations of his family’s history starting in Chihuahua, Mexico in the 1860s” up to the present. The first half of the book is about Emilo’s great grandfather and the sacrifices he made in bringing his family to Los Angeles. “The people of Chihuahua,” Emilio tells a newspaper reporter, “were poor, beat down by Mother Nature and father government.”
When the family finally settled in “East Los,” they found “their citizenship was not considered same as the Anglos’ citizenship. This alienation caused the gang mentality to spawn in East Los in the 1880s. The Hispanics were the first to have gangs.” At first the barrios came together to defend themselves against “Anglo injustice, but actually, in the end, they were banding together against the other neighborhoods.”
During World War II, Hispanic young people began wearing flamboyant zoot suits, introduced by Mickey Garcia when he came to Texas from Pachuco, Mexico. The style found its way to East Los. “It was the era of … anti-government sentiment, solidarity and yes, gang growth,” and led to the Zoot Suit riots in Los Angeles among Latino youth and Anglo sailors and marines.
Soon, says old Emilio, himself a second-generation Alpine Street gang member, “the gangs turned back on each other. Then the prison unity evolved, but as our history dictates we always end up eating our young and once again we turned back against each other.” Today’s gang members, Emilio tells the reporter, “do not know the history about why the Hispanics split up into North and South. They cannot even tell you why they hate each other so much.”
Emilio’s story offers a nuanced view of gang evolution; its implications are well worth pondering.