The 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 Karnas, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Needs Programs, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
A blend of memoir, social advocacy, and stories about homeless men 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 … She is able to draw a number of parallels between what she experienced as a child … and the paths that later drew her into social work, providing a unique perspective on how the events of her past brought her to working with the homeless.
Perhaps most compelling, Morgan doesn’t hold back about the frustrations of working not just with the system, but with the homeless themselves. Although she’s always respectful in her descriptions of their mental issues and addictions, she is transformed from a wide-eyed volunteer to an advocate who sees far more shades of gray in the “concrete killing fields” around her.
“The author even proposes a “Twelve Steps for Do-Gooders” based on the model followed by Alcoholics Anonymous. This powerful document, delivered with concision, artfully describes the difficult balance that many advocates and social workers must strike in order to be truly helpful. In step four, for example, she writes, “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself and the ‘help’ I was trying to provide to others, often rendered unrecognizable because of my frustration and anger at the very people I wanted so much to help.” Where the book shines the brightest is in Morgan’s descriptions of those very individuals.” ~ Excerpt: Foreword Book Reviews 5-Star Review.