Pat Morgan, Award-winning authorThe Concrete Killing Fields

One woman’s battle to break the cycle of homelessness

”In bravely revealing her own journey alongside our nation’s homeless men, women and children, Pat helps us understand both how we can help them and how we can learn from them.” – Fred KarnasSocial Investment Officer, Kresge Foundation.  

A blend of memoir, social advocacy, and stories about homeless people in Memphis, Tennessee, The Concrete Killing Fields is at once deeply personal and broadly drawn. By delving into the reasons behind homelessness of the individuals she meets, Pat Morgan presents intriguing conclusions about issues related to mental health, government policy, and our social safety net.

As Morgan recollects on her decision to become involved with the homeless, she begins to muse on her upbringing in the South, as the daughter of a police officer and a resident of a very small town. She she is able to draw a number of parallels between what she experienced as a child the support of the community, the nascent understanding of alcoholism, the excitement of sitting in her father’s police car as he waited for trouble and the paths that later drew her into social work. She weaves in her later difficulties (divorce and raising children as a single mother), providing a unique perspective on how the events of her past brought her to working with the homeless.

The author is transformed from a wide-eyed volunteer to an advocate who sees far more shades of gray in the concrete killing fields around her.

“Where the book shines the brightest is in Morgan’s descriptions of the homeless. Her writing style is straightforward and conversational, as if she’s telling each story to a rapt audience.”  –ForeWord Book Reviews (5 star review)

Pat Morgan counts the homeless

Photo by Chris Desmond/Special to The Commercial Appeal – Pat Morgan works with a compassionate officer in counting homeless people on the streets of Memphis.