Philadelphia Fire Social Concerns

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Urban disintegration is the major social issue in Philadelphia Fire, although as usual Wideman is concerned with the nature of violence, racial conflict, and in this book particularly, the future of society's children.

This account of the 1985 bombing of a Rastafarian cult by city officials in Philadelphia seems eerily familiar, given events like the raid on the David Koresh sect in Waco, Texas, or the 1995 bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City. The bombing of the Move sect which haunts Wideman and the characters in the book occurred over a decade ago, but analysis of the event is as relevant as today's headlines.

Using the bombing as a touchstone, the novel explores urban disintegration in its most terrifying aspects. The deaths of eleven people, including five children, are rationalized by several characters and are in the process of being forgotten by most. Violence is rampant...

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This section contains 335 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Philadelphia Fire Short Guide
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Philadelphia Fire from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.