Muck City: Winning and Losing in Football's Forgotten Town
by Bryan Mealer
Crown, 2012. 321 pgs. Nonfiction
Belle Glade is an agriculturally rich but every-other-way poor town in southeastern Florida that has cranked out thirty NFL players since 1985, five of them drafted in the first round. Some of the boys on this team have parents in jail, or dead from gang combat or drug use. Some of the boys on this team have themselves been killed or wounded on the violent streets of Belle Glade, and most would seem not to have a raindrop's chance in Hades of making it anywhere except to the life of a migrant agricultural worker or to an early grave. And yet . . . family and extended family, coaches, teachers, educational administrators, the guy who runs the bakery, all do their best to help these kids. And many of the kids help themselves to heroic degrees. In any case, Muck City is a beautifully well written story of an often terrible place which is redeemed by the strength and hope of youngsters and their supporters who have no real basis for being strong or hopeful.