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June 30, 1996|CHARLES SOLOMON

FIST STICK KNIFE GUN: A Personal History of Violence in America by Geoffrey Canada (Beacon Press: $12; 179 pp.). Canada contrasts his experiences growing up in the South Bronx with the lives of the children he teaches today. Life on the inner-city streets was always "hard, cold and unforgiving," but the availability of handguns and the influx of drugs, especially crack cocaine, have produced a murderous cycle of violence: More than 5,000 children are shot in the United States each year. In a stirring call to action, Canada declares, "We have failed our children. They live in a world where danger lurks all around them and their playgrounds are filled with broken glass, crack vials and sudden death. And the stuff of our nightmares when we were children is common reality for children today."

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