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Cut Short

Why we're failing our youth - and how to fix it

Ciaran Thapar



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28 September 2021
The urgent and beautifully written story of Britain's 'knife crime' - and how things could be different Demetri wants to study criminology at university to understand why people around him carry knives. Jhemar is determined to advocate for his community following the murder of a loved one. Carl's exclusion leaves him vulnerable to the sinister school-to-prison pipeline, but he is resolute to defy expectations. And Tony, the tireless manager of a community centre, is fighting not only for the lives of local young people, but to keep the centre's doors open.

Drawing on the latest research and interviews with experts, this refreshingly-nuanced and beautifully-written book interweaves the stories of a cast of characters at the sharp end of London's serious youth violence epidemic, with chapters on subjects such as social media, gentrification and criminal justice. Showing how we are all connected to this tragedy, Cut Short is a gripping, urgent, sympathetic and often painful portrait of a society fracturing along lines of race, class and postcodes. It is a blueprint for positive change, and a book we desperately need.
Imprint:   Viking
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 222mm,  Width: 144mm,  Spine: 34mm
Weight:   483g
ISBN:   9780241434987
ISBN 10:   024143498X
Pages:   368
Publication Date:  
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  General/trade ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Ciaran Thapar is a youth worker, social activist and writer based in London. His journalism on serious youth violence, austerity politics, British multiculturalism and contemporary music culture can be found in the Guardian, British GQ, Vice and Pitchfork. He has experience developing and delivering charity programmes in secondary schools, youth clubs and prisons. As Founder of RoadWorks, a music and social education charity, Ciaran has advocated on behalf of young people in both Houses of Parliament, on national television and radio, and in legal court proceedings. He holds an MSc in Political Theory from London School of Economics. This is his first book.

Reviews for Cut Short: Why we're failing our youth - and how to fix it

Honest, authentic and raw, this book confronts our deepest assumptions about violence, and lays down a transformative path to peace -- David Lammy MP, author of Tribes An incredibly important look at the plight of Britain's youth, delivered with clarity, honesty and an open heart -- Nikesh Shukla, editor of The Good Immigrant Ciaran's work is informed by lived experience at the frontline of social change. It takes a sensitive and respectful look at the truths less often told -- George the Poet Angry, impassioned, informed, accurate - the story behind the cutting short of public health and young lives -- Danny Dorling, author of Inequality and the 1% Ciaran is the rarest thing: a writer of heart and clarity, who has spent thousands of hours absorbing the rules, codes and heartbreaks of life in some of London's most vulnerable communities . . . I read everything that Ciaran writes because it feels necessary to understand the city that I live in -- Sam Knight, New Yorker staff writer Ciaran Thapar is a uniquely insightful and urgently necessary writer on life-or-death issues usually mired in ignorance and guesswork . . . No-one else has this level of access, understanding and trust among the young people at the heart of these stories, nor the ability to turn them into such simultaneously gripping and compassionate prose -- Dan Hancox, author of Inner City Pressure In a potent mix of personal anecdote, social history and politics, he interweaves the stories of people caught up in the violence, to show how society is fracturing along lines of race, class and postcodes. The result is a trenchant, page-turning and sometimes challenging reading, but also a blueprint for positive change -- Caroline Sanderson * Bookseller, Editor's Choice * A crucial contribution and a compelling read. Thapar combines captivating narratives with a sophisticated understanding of the policy landscape - a must-read book for anyone interested in, or working to improve, the safety and well-being of children and young people -- Keir Irwin-Rogers, Lecturer in Criminology, The Open University; lead criminologist to the Youth Violence Commission Cut Short is at once a compelling memoir, a biting critique of Britain's hideous inequality, and a beautiful tribute to the remarkable strength and spark of London's youth - and those who work with them. Weaving together reflective autobiography, expert interviews and the stories of young people he works with, Ciaran Thapar paints a portrait of London's greatest assets and deepest injustices. Everyone - from teenagers to government ministers - can learn a lot about contemporary Britain from Cut Short -- Luke Billingham, youth & community worker, co-author of the Youth Violence Commission Final Report

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