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Thursday, May 16, 2019
AN AMERICAN SUMMER: LOVE and DEATH in CHICAGO (audiobook) by Alex Kotlowitz
Published in March of 2019 by Random House Audio.
Read by by the author, Alex Kotlowitz.
Duration: 9 hours, 53 minutes.
Journalist Alex Kotlowitz has written several books about race, crime and life in the Midwest rust belt. This book focuses on Chicago's most violent neighborhoods. How violent are they? In the past 20 years, 14,033 people have been killed and another 60,000 have been injured by other people shooting guns. Just to compare, it is as if the entire population of Scranton, PA or Ogden, UT or Napa, CA were all killed or wounded by gunfire.
But, it's not like all of Chicago experiences this violence. It is really just a few neighborhoods - so the impact is a lot like a civil war is going on in a medium-sized city. Everyone knows someone who has been shot and most people know someone that has been killed. That takes a toll on the survivors and that is what this book is about.
Kotlowitz follows nine stories from these neighborhoods. Some were victims, some hurt others and some did both. Most of these stories are unrelentingly sad. Some were a little hopeful and one was downright inspiring.
The reader learns about the cycle of violence, how city officials have tried to help and fail and how the police can become just another violent part of a violent neighborhood. Chicago Police Department has paid out $662 million in damages for police misconduct since 2004.
This is a sobering, well-written book. Not an easy listen, but an important one.
This book was read by the author, Alex Kotlowitz. He did an excellent job.
I rate this audiobook 5 stars out of 5. It can be found on Amazon.com here: AN AMERICAN SUMMER: LOVE and DEATH in CHICAGO by Alex Kotlowitz.
Please check out this book as well: ALL the DREAMS WE'VE DREAMED: A STORY of HOOPS and HANDGUNS on CHICAGO'S WEST SIDE by Rus Bradburd.