In just four years, National Book Award-winner Jesmyn Ward lost five people: her younger brother, her cousin, and three friends. All were between the ages of nineteen and thirty-five. All were black men. Left behind are the wives and girlfriends, mothers and daughters, who must shoulder the responsibilities of family and community. In her brave, beautifully-written memoir Men We Reaped (Bloomsbury, $26), Ward tells of the devastation such violence leaves upon the lives of those who must move forward while living in communities burdened by societal racism and deep poverty—injustices that are a type of violence on their own. Ward evokes memories of hot and dusty southern Mississippi days as she explores her family’s complex cultural and ethnic heritage, tells stories of her father’s pit bulls, and describes the numbing effects of drugs and alcohol on people who live with too few options. A powerful, devastating, and haunting narrative by an incredibly talented writer, Ward’s memoir is for anyone who believes we’re living in a post-racial society, or for anyone horrified at the murder of Trayvon Martin and his accused killer’s acquittal. As Ward shows, we are anything but post-racial, and there are thousands of young black men whose lives are devalued every day.