Allen Jones, born in the Bronx, is a manager for foreign currency exchange at Dexia Banque
Internationale at Luxembourg.
Mark Naison is professor of African American studies and history at Fordham University. He is author of many books and articles including Communists in Harlem During the Depression and White Boy: A Memoir. The founder of the Bronx African American History project, Naison has emerged in the last five years as a passionate defender of America's public school teachers and students, founding groups like Dump Duncan, the Teachers Talk Back Project, and most recently, the Badass Teachers Association.
A chronicle of Jones' life, from his youth in a Bronx housing development to a career as a professional basketball player in Europe. - —Columbia College Today
This is a story that can be appreciated by all walks of life, on and off the court, in and out of the streets, novice and expert of the social norms of the ghetto, as its message rings true for all of humanity. - —Pamela Lewis, Bronx Historical Society Journal
Few could have imagined the path the troubled youth would travel. Leaving behind a life of drugs and crime, Allen Jones became an international banker. - —Roanoke College Magazine
Reading this book to my 4th grade all boys class was risky, however the learning experiences and the dialogue we had with Allen and Mark hit a chord in these urban exposed children. - —Michael Napolitano, P.S. 140
It is rare to find a book that creates as much excitement among teenagers as The Rat That Got Away did at Harlem RBI. After the authors spoke with the young people in our program, every student suddenly wanted a copy of their own. The book not only talks about the real life conditions that many inner city youngsters face, it teaches them - —Richard A. Berlin, Executive DirectorHarlem RBI
how to use their "street smarts" to achieve success. The book is an invaluable resource and gift to anyone working with at-risk youth.
Jones pursued two successful careers in Europe: professional basketball player and banker. If you met him, you might not guess he spent his teen years as a heroin dealer in New York. His memoir, written with Naison (history & African American studies, Fordham Univ.) focuses on his experiences growing up in a Bronx public housing project, playing serious basketball, ignoring school, dealing and doing drugs, and eventually lucking into a series of experiences that led to a professional basketball career in Europe. Jones credits his success to his supportive family, coaches, and neighborhood elders, but ultimately his is a tale of luck. The young Jones makes rash decisions, avoids his responsibilities, lies, and steals but also encounters many unlikely second chances. In another writer's hands, this blessed triumph-over-adversity story line might be trite and irritating, but Jones draws readers in with his direct, conversational style, and the tale is gripping even though readers know it will end well. VERDICT Recommended for memoir lovers and anyone interested in a first-person perspective on 1960s-era urban adolescence. - —Library Journal
The engrossing story of one Bronx housing project is told through the eyes of Allen Jones, who endured—and participated in—its grim transformation over the course of a turbulent decade. - —City Limits Weekly
The memoir paints an earthy picture of the neighborhood in the 1950s, when the projects were home to working-class black and Latino families who pushed their children to excel, through the 1970s. - —The New York Times