In Chicago: Raising Children in a Battle Zone

Every school day at precisely 2:40 p.m., Diana Brooks turns to the window of her apartment in Chicago's Cabrini-Green housing project. She stares at the bleak concrete landscape between the red brick high-rises until she spots John, 12, Charles, 7, and Jermaine, 5, picking their way past the broken glass, rusty cars and trash. Only when the boys are safely inside the apartment can the 28-year-old mother relax.

The window where Diana keeps her vigil has been pierced by a bullet, and there is another bullet hole in the wall, which she covered with a cabinet and a neat display of...

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