Booklist Review

THE BOYS OF THE DARK

Locked up in the Florida School for Boys in Marianna in the 1950s,  
Straley, then 13, suffered unspeakable abuse, including whippings and  
rape.

Co-author Michael O'McCarthy was 15 when he was sentenced to a  
year in Marianna: what haunts him is not only the agonizing beatings  
but also the guilt that he did nothing to save a friend of his who  
disappeared.

Now after more than 50 years of trying to forget, the two  
survivors have come together through the Internet in a class-action  
suit with more than 500 former inmates (most convicted for minor  
offenses) to confront their excruciating memories and call the  
perpetrators to account.

The big issues are always inextricably tied to the personal trauma: How could the guards, ordinary people,
inflict such suffering? How could the local community and justice department go along? Yes, the Nazi
banality of evil is invoked. But more than abstraction, the searing detail is unforgettable. And the
unanswered  questions: What about the school cemetery with 32 unmarked graves?  

Could it still be happening to incarcerated children? With the court hearing pending, this searing exposé
will have a wide audience.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist