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Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned Paperback – Oct 1 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press (Oct. 1 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671014994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671014995
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 13.7 x 1.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #507,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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Format: Paperback
"Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him." -- Luke 17:3 (NKJV)

Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned is the first book in the Socrates Fortlow series by Walter Mosley. As much as I admire the later books in the series, this one if my favorite. I first read it before I even knew that Amazon existed so I have never written a review of it.

I decided that Christmas 2011 was a good time to reread the book and to share my views about this powerful work.

If you haven't read any of the books in the series (Little Yellow Dog and The Right Mistake), be sure to start with this one. It's one of the most powerful books I recall in terms of capturing a convict's self-directed rehabilitation.

When Socrates was sent to prison for murders and rape, he was just another guy seeking to gratify his price, appetites, and anger. Over the long years, he came to reflect on what his choices were before picking one. Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned is an eloquent fictional presentation of how powerful free will can be in taking us on a constructive path, even in the absence of seeking God's direction.

In individual stories (separately published before this collection was put together), Mr.
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Format: Paperback
The novel ~Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned~ by Water Mosley is a dramatic story that follows the adulthood of Socrates Fortlow; a convicted rapist and murderer who lives in Watts, Los Angeles. After being in prison for 27 years, Socrates tries to redeem himself by helping others with their own troubles and problems. Throughout the book, he comes across many people who change his life while he helps them. Socrates' journey shows him that life goes on even after it has stopped for him. He especially tries to help Darryl, a teenager who is on the same path of self-destruction that Socrates took, with his uneasy life in the ghetto. And as Socrates comes in contact with more and more people, he realizes that there is some humanity left within him and maybe even this world.
This book has many adult themes in it from the dialogue to the main character being a convicted rapist and murderer. We believe this book should be read by more advanced readers. The format of the book is very complex. It does not go in chronological order. A chapter might begin with something that happened three weeks before the initial reading, and the whole chapter might be on that sole event. If you have read ~House on Mango Street~ by Sandra Cisneros, which follows the same format, this novel is not so hard. However, if you have not experienced this kind of reading before, you might find yourself lost frequently. Anyone below high school will have a hard time with this book. ~Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned~ has many dramatic and depressing themes and chapters. We do not suggest this if you are looking for an uplifting book.
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By flying-monkey on Oct. 1 2002
Format: Paperback
This has to come close to being the best collection of short-stories written in English during the last twenty years.
At their best the taut writing and uncanny ability to explode the confusion and emptiness at the heart of many people's lives recalls Raymond Carver, but where Carver is content to leave his ethics enigmatic, Mosley is righteous and fierce. This is not to say that the central character, Socrates Fortlow is a judgemental moralist. Far from it. This burly ex-con with his huge rock-crushing hands and terrible past, is searching for truth in a world where truth is no much unfashionable as crushed out of people's souls by injustice. He is a seeker not a saviour.
The stories also form the link between Mosley's crime writing and his outstanding first SF novel, Blue Light, where issues of metaphysics are brought further into the foreground. Through the stories, Socrates acquires a kind of nobility that can only come from a totally honest struggle our own impulses as well as with the environment that surrounds us. There is a sense of place in 'Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned' that is very specific to 1980s Watts, but mythic and resonant and almost timeless at the same time. This only comes from genuine wisdom and understanding, qualities in which Mosley far outshines almost all contemporary authors.
There are one or two weaker stories, notably one in which Socrates gets involved with the courts again, but this is a collection to come back to. And as with Raymond Carver, I felt compelled to stop for quite some time after each one as the subtle but powerful emotional impact percolated through my brain.
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