Jonathan Kozol decided it was time at last to open up a private aspect of his life. Jonathan’s most recent book, The Theft of Memory: Losing My Father One Day at a Time, is about his father’s astonishing career as an eminent physician—a specialist in disorders of the brain—and his remarkable ability, at the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, to diagnose himself, explain the causes of his sickness, and then to narrate, step by step, his slow descent into dementia. Early readers describe it as a fascinating story of the bond between a father and son and the way that bond intensifies even as the father’s cogency and verbal gifts progressively abandon him.
Jonathan is best known as an advocate for low-income children. A Harvard graduate and former Rhodes Scholar, his work among young children started in the passion of the civil rights campaigns of 1964 and 1965, when he gave up the prospect of a promising career in the academic world, moved from Harvard Square into a poor black neighborhood of Boston, and became a fourth grade teacher. He has since devoted nearly his entire life to the challenge of providing equal opportunity to every child in our public schools.