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A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,265 Ratings  ·  380 Reviews
It is 1993, and Cedric Jennings is a bright and ferociously determined honor student at Ballou, a high school in one of Washington D.C.’s most dangerous neighborhoods, where the dropout rate is well into double digits and just 80 students out of more than 1,350 boast an average of B or better. At Ballou, Cedric has almost no friends. He eats lunch in a classroom most days, ...more
Paperback, 373 pages
Published May 4th 1999 by Broadway Books (first published 1998)
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Eat Move Sleep by Tom RathHow Full Is Your Bucket? by Tom RathA Hope in the Unseen by Ron SuskindEngaging Students Through Social Media by Reynol JuncoDo Good Well by Nina Vasan
Student Affairs Reads
3rd out of 7 books — 8 voters
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70th out of 375 books — 68 voters


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Community Reviews

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Kinga
The five stars go equally to Ron Suskind the author and Cedric Jennings, the hero of the book. As any other review will tell you it is a story about a boy from the ghetto who somehow managed to learn something in his gang-infested high school (think Gangsta's Paradise) and made it to one of the Ivy League universities.

If you think this is some sort of Chicken Soup for the White Liberal Soul then you couldn't be more wrong. Basically the conclusion is: shit is bad, real bad. The challenges that
...more
Christine Luong
Mar 15, 2009 Christine Luong rated it really liked it
This was one of the last books I read before I moved away from Washington, D.C. It's signed by the author with a nice little note. I was working for a teacher's union and volunteering at an elementary school in Northeast D.C. and this book really hit home. Everything Ron Suskind wrote about Cedric Jennings I saw first-hand with some of the students I worked with. It really got me thinking about the failures of affirmative action and how much further we need to go to ensure that all children have ...more
Marian Deegan
Aug 29, 2014 Marian Deegan rated it liked it
The true story of an inner city boy followed by Suskind as he studied his way into an Ivy League school. My discriminating friend Jill recommended this book; it was my first of 2004. I told her afterward that it was a gift to have my "book voyage" of 2004 launched with such a powerfully affecting read. Here I am...marveling at the skill and meticulous care with which Suskind approached this project. There are layers of issues integrated between these book covers. It may be the clearest view I've ...more
Jen
Mar 20, 2014 Jen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
As a disclaimer: I read this book for a diversity in education class, which may have impacted how I read it.

In general, I could certainly tell that it was written by a journalist, rather than a novelist; it read very much like a very long article. This doesn't mean that the writing was bad, but it was certainly more expository than I would expect from a book. There was a lot of telling, rather than showing, since the author was working to present what the characters were thinking without misrepr
...more
Cheryl
Aug 30, 2013 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Cheryl by: Friends of the Library
Incredible is the word that keeps coming to mind.
The incredible power of a mother who genuinely believed in her son, and the son who believed his mother. Not this helicopter nonsense that passes for belief but a real belief that results in consistent discipline and selfless sacrifice.
The incredible power of real faith when faced with difficult circumstances. Not "I'll say it till it happens" but the real kind of faith that moves mountains.
The incredible power of the right kind of help at th
...more
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LMU First To Go C...: Question 1 1 5 Jan 13, 2014 11:15PM  
LMU First To Go C...: The Curiosity of the Unfamiliar Race 1 4 Jan 13, 2014 08:20PM  
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LMU First To Go C...: Ballou high school documentary 4 12 Jan 02, 2014 10:51AM  
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  • White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550-1812
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Ron Suskind is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist and best-selling author. He was the senior national affairs writer for The Wall Street Journal from 1993 to 2000 and has published several books: A Hope in the Unseen, The Price of Loyalty, The One Percent Doctrine, The Way of the World, Confidence Men, and Life, Animated. He won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for his series ...more
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“Nonetheless, the fact remains; he had hope in a better world he could not yet see that overwhelmed the cries of "you can't" or "you won't" or "why bother." More than anything else, mastering that faith, on cue, is what separated him from his peers, and distinguishes him from so many people in these literal, sophisticated times. It has made all the difference.” 7 likes
“You are livin’,” she says in feigned exasperation. “You just don’t see what I see. You got something special. Something you got from your ma. It’s a thing. I mean, I wish I had it. It’s this thing where you know what it’s going to take, and then you get it done. You push yourself and you get there.” 4 likes
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