To inspire young African-Americans whose horizons seem limited, Ross, a seventh-grade English teacher in New York City, presents brief accounts of 30 people who have made careers ""outside of the boundaries that seemed so stringently set for blacks living in America."" Ross interviews a chef and a brewmeister, a holistic healer and a circus ringmaster, an oceanographer, a real estate developer and an editor. The conventional African-American role models (doctor, lawyer, teacher, basketball player, rock musician) appear only marginally, though Ross does profile a guitar maker and a guitar player. As one of Ross's informants puts it, ""There's like this secret army of alternative people,"" and the great value of the book is that it reveals this army to those who might otherwise never see it. Ross's profiles are best taken in short doses, however. In spite of the variety of personal backgrounds and occupations, the writing style is uniform, and what is intended to be inspiring becomes wearying after several hundred pages. Still, high school guidance counselors and teachers would do well to keep this volume handy. It's a fine antidote to students' inexperience.
Reviewed on: 11/28/2005 Release date: 12/01/2005 Genre: Nonfiction