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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Perseverance Through Severe Dysfunction: Breaking the Curse of Intergenerational Trauma as a Black Man in America by Reggie D. Ford is a powerful, unforgettable memoir that shines a light in the darkest places of racism and trials of young Black men. When you hear PTSD, you usually think of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and although this book discusses that, where the overall theme is concerned, PTSD stands for Perseverance Through Severe Dysfunction. The author takes an unflinching look at the lives of Blacks in the United States today, with a special focus on mental illness and choices that affect Black Americans--not just today, but in the future.
What I like is that Ford's story and experiences can be helpful to all people, but the legacy of mental illness, racism, and poverty in the Black population can't be ignored. Although he points out stark reality and truth, it is balanced with hope, compassion, and a call for healing. He turns back to his traumatic childhood in Nashville to set the foundation, and illustrates how family is--it can either hurt or help. As difficult as his youth was, he managed to persevere and work through it to a better outcome. He teaches from the platform of sociology, education, culture, politics, psychology, and more and doesn't leave out personal responsibility. He is a beacon of possibility and victory for every person who thinks they are a failure or can't improve their situation. I love the author's deep capacity for insight and reflection, and the compassion he feels toward those in dysfunction. As a former social worker, I highly recommend this book. If you are searching for more understanding and inspiration when it comes to Black America, you will find it in Perseverance Through Severe Dysfunction: Breaking the Curse of Intergenerational Trauma as a Black Man in America by Reggie D. Ford.