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The State Boys Rebellion

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  403 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
At age seven, an orphan boy named Freddie Boyce finally believed he had found a real home with a kindly widow who raised foster children on her farm in rural Massachusetts. But when his foster mother died in the winter of 1949, Freddie was subjected to a rudimentary IQ test and then sent to a state institution for the feebleminded. There, along with other relatively normal ...more
Hardcover, 308 pages
Published April 20th 2004 by Simon & Schuster
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Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The State Boys Rebellion is a superb non fiction book, both tragic and uplifting. I felt outrage upon reading about the inhumane treatment but at times these feelings were balanced with the hope that some of the boys could escape their hell.

The author Michael D’Antonio has a gift as a journalist and his storytelling was on full display here. His writing style has a certain warmth and humanity to it despite that the subject matter is at times horrifying.

I won’t give the plot twists of the story a
Victoria Weinstein
Mar 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I met Freddie Boyce, one of the subjects of this shattering story, at the end of his life. He gave me an autographed copy of the book and a stuffed animal from his days working for the carnival.

I consider it a great honor to have presided at Freddie's funeral. I will never forget him.

I am currently reading a book about McLean Hospital, which is what reminded me of "The State Boys." Everyone in the Boston area should know this history.
Nov 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
I was fascinated by this book, it's quite tragic but hopeful at the same time. It's an important piece of history that was well documented by D'Antonio and a story well told. Especially interesting for New Englanders as well.
Jul 07, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pretty compelling non-fiction work. Reads much more like a novel with great character development and story lines. Covers several decades in the lives of several men who were committed to a state facility for the mentally retarded in Massachusetts. Somewhat grim given what was done to these boys but the thread of hope and the emergence of independence is always at hand. Well worth your time and it provides lots to talk about in terms of how we treat those who are different.
Dec 29, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes it was informative, eye-opening to the chapter of American history that is most often 'forgotten' or disregarded. It is interesting how the APUSH book makes no mention of it. The plight is sad and largely ignored in America, etc. and I would wish for more people to know of it.
As a book, though, the writing style was not particularly remarkable, slash did not keep me very engaged [though I admit non-fiction is not typically what I read atoll].
The importance of the message [am glad to be
This is the true story of a crime pushed off the front pages by the OJ trial. The author follows the lives of several boys institutionalized in Massachusetts based on a label of mental retardation, which was completely incorrect in many cases. As you follow the story, the boys gradually realize that they have rights and start fighting for them. I thought once they grew up and started their adult lives on the outside the horror would recede, but from there it deepened beyond my wildest imaginatio ...more
Edwina Callan
Nov 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookcrossing, 2007
Heartbreaking and horrifying.
I cried my way through this book a little at a time.
Rogue Reader
May 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-us
Reading The State Boys Rebellion just after The Story of Beautiful Girl was almost more than I could bear. Moving from a fictional narrative about the institutionalization of the handicapped to the contemporary institutionalization of handicapped persons, orphans and kids from troubled homes made this episode in human history so much more tragic and wrong.

D'Antonio's work is the personal narrative of Freddie Boyce, one of a group of boys who refused to see themselves as feebleminded. It is also
Dena Pardi
May 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was terrifically informative. There was so much I didn't realize or didn't know about eugenics. To be honest I wasn't even aware of a movement such as eugenics which is truly a horrifying movement. It made me realize how dangerous ignorance really is. I appreciated that the book wasn't entirely focused on the atrocities and horrors that went on in some of these institutions. Not that they were glossed over but the book isn't mean to traumatize you but to educate you. There we ...more
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating insight to a part of American history that not many know about. This is the story of institutionalized boys, deemed "retarded" based upon background, orphan status and changing IQ tests that end up in a state run school during the 30's through the 60's and what they endured. Shocking accounts of science experiments, sterilizations, abuse all done in the name of "eugenics" for a better America. The unfortunate part is a lot of these kids were as normal as anybody, but due to bureaucra ...more
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The Book Was Better: STATE BOYS REBELLION 2 7 Apr 09, 2014 10:16AM  
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A Pulitzer Prize winning writer of books, articles, and original stories for film, Michael D’Antonio has published more than a dozen books, including Never Enough, a 2015 biography of presidential candidate and billionaire businessman Donald Trump. Described variously as “luminous,” “captivating,” “momentous” and “meticulous” Michael’s work is renowned for its clarity, balance, and thoroughness.

More about Michael D'Antonio...