Wednesday, January 17, 2007
My first recommendation, Cross-X by Joe Miller, has been generating a lot of local (KS) buzz because it follows a high school debate team from Kansas City's Central High School. Central is an inner city school that has been deemed "academically deficient" yet its debate team is competitive at the highest national levels. Miller follows two teams of African American debaters as they confront stereotypes about the Urban Debate League and even attempt to change the structure of debate itself. It falls off a little in the last part as the book shifts to Miller's increasing role with the debate squad and his views on the democratic world of debate. On the whole, though, it is a highly suspenseful and engaging read. I only wish it was also a documentary so that I could watch some of the debate rounds described. Also check out this NPR interview with the author and Marcus and Ebony, two of the Central debaters.