The Rat That Got Away is an inspiring story of one man's odyssey from the streets of the Bronx to a life as a professional athlete and banker in Europe, but it is also provides a unique vantage point on the history of the Bronx and sheds new light on a neglected period in American urban history. Allen Jones grew up in a public housing project in the South Bronx at a time-the 1950s-when that neighborhood was a place of optimism and hope for upwardly mobile Black and Latino families. Brought up in a two-parent household, with many neighborhood mentors, Jones led an almost charmed life as a budding basketball star until his teen years, when his once peaceful neighborhood was torn by job losses, white flight, and a crippling drug epidemic. Drawn into the heroin trade, first as a user, then as a dealer, Jones spent four months on Rikers Island, where he experienced a crisis of conscience and a determination to turn his life around. Sent to a New England prep school upon his release, Jones used his basketball skills and street smarts to forge a life outside the Bronx, first as a college athlete in the South, then as a professional basketball player, radio personality, and banker in Europe. A brilliant storyteller with a gift for dialogue, Jones brings Bronx streets and housing projects to life as places of possibility as well as tragedy, where racism and economic hardship never completely suppressed the resilient spirit of its residents. A book that will change the way people view the South Bronx.
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