Best Intentions: The Education and Killing of Edmund Perry

Robert Sam Anson, Author Random House (NY) $17.95 (221p) ISBN 978-0-394-55274-3
The fatal shooting of 17-year-old Edmund Perry by New York City police officer Lee Van Houten in June of 1985 drew national headlines. The officer asserted that he was mugged by Perry and another black youth near Harlem. Subsequently, Edmund's brother Jonah, a Cornell undergraduate, was accused of being the second participant, tried and found not guilty. The case created controversy among blacks and whites alike, for the Perry brothers, raised in the ghetto, were educated at private schools; Edmund, graduated from Philips Exeter, was to attend Stanford University that fall. Anson (Exile, etc.) probes the problems that attended the uprooting of the brothers from a deprived background to the upper-class environment of their schools; and he raises questions as to whether the worlds of black and white in the U.S. are capable of reconciliation. In a profound and disturbing study Anson reaches a troubling conclusion about this case: ""The only villain I had found was something amorphous, not a person or a thing, just a difference called race. It was racenot the fact of it, but the consequences flowing from it . . . '' that relegated the slain Edmund, for one, to the ethics of the street. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour. (May 20)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1987
Release date: 04/01/1987
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-394-75707-0
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