Wednesday, August 21, 2013

White House Boys by Roger Kiser

I heard an interview with the author today on NPR's program Here and Now and could not believe that the story that this man told could happen here in America in the 1950's and that the juvenile facility continued to operate until around 2010. The horror of the abuse and outright murder of these boys seem to be something out of a Victorian horror novel about an orphanage instead of a what is a true story of what happened to troubled boys in Florida who were often without family to protect and help them through whatever problems brought them to the detention facility in the first place. I have a feeling that this book will be one that I have to read in bits and pieces due to the awful subject matter.

Happy Reading!


Hidden far from sight, deep in the thick underbrush of the North Florida woods are the ghostly graves of more than thirty unidentified bodies, some of which are thought to be children who were beaten to death at the old Florida Industrial School for Boys at Marianna. It is suspected that many more bodies will be found in the fields and swamplands surrounding the institution. Investigations into the unmarked graves have compelled many grown men to come forward and share their stories of the abuses they endured and the atrocities they witnessed in the 1950s and 1960s at the institution.

    The White House Boys: An American Tragedy is the true story of the horrors recalled by Roger Dean Kiser, one of the boys incarcerated at the facility in the late fifties for the crime of being a confused, unwanted, and wayward child. In a style reminiscent of the works of Mark Twain, Kiser recollects the horrifying verbal, sexual, and physical abuse he and other innocent young boys endured at the hands of their "caretakers." Questions remain unanswered and theories abound, but Roger and the other 'White House Boys' are determined to learn the truth and see justice served.

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