An American Summer

An American Summer

Love and Death in Chicago

Book - 2019
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"The numbers are staggering: Over the past twenty years in Chicago, 14,033 people have been killed and another roughly 60,000 wounded by gunfire. What does that do to the spirit of individuals and communities? Drawing on his decades of experience, Alex Kotlowitz set out to chronicle one summer in the city, writing of those who have emerged from the violence and whose stories reveal the capacity--and the breaking point--of the human heart and soul. The result is a spellbinding collection of deeply intimate stories that upend what we think we know about gun violence in America. Among others, we meet a man who as a teenager killed a rival gang member and who, twenty years later, is still trying to come to terms with what he did; a devoted school social worker smuggling with her favorite student, who refuses to give evidence in the shooting death of his best friend; the witness to a wrongful police shooting who can't shake what he has seen; and an aging former gang leader who builds a place of refuge for himself and his friends. Applying the close-up, empathic reporting that made There Are No Children Here a modern classic, Kotlowitz offers a tenderhearted yet piercingly honest testament to the strength of the human spirit. These sketches of those left standing will get in your bones. This one summer will stay with you."--Dust jacket.
Publisher: New York : Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 2019
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385538800
Branch Call Number: 364.1 Ko
Description: x, 287 pages ; 25 cm


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May 08, 2019

A sobering read. It's difficult to recommend, simply because the subject matter is so troubling, yet it seems necessary. When viewing statistics it can be easy to have a sense of detachment, but these stories remind us of the lives behind those numbers. There are glimpses of hope, but no real solutions are offered-- that doesn't seem to be Kotlowitz's point. All in all a very effective, albeit troubling, view of what happens to the human mind, body, and spirit when surrounded by violence.


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