BookBrowse Reviews An American Summer by Alex Kotlowitz

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An American Summer

Love and Death in Chicago

by Alex Kotlowitz

An American Summer by Alex Kotlowitz X
An American Summer by Alex Kotlowitz
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Mar 2019, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 31, 2020, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rose Rankin
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A searing account of the lives directly impacted by ongoing violence in Chicago, and an eyewitness ethnography of the neighborhoods where shootings are near constant.

As a Chicagoan, I've become used to the most common reactions when I'm traveling and tell someone where I'm from. Most of us are accustomed to it—the questions about "what it's like" here, and the unspoken assessment of a place seemingly steeped in violence, whether the historical kind of Al Capone and Prohibition-era gangsters, or the rampant gun violence people hear about today in the news.

What we residents can rarely explain in those moments is the complicated backstory. In An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago, Alex Kotlowitz patiently takes the reader through the streets, neighborhoods and institutions that are both the cause and the result of ongoing violence. More importantly, he humanizes the problem through personal stories and deep immersion in the lives of real people who have been affected.

Kotlowitz is as much an ethnographer as he is an author; in 1991 ...

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