An American Summer Summary

Rather than focus on a handful of people, as is common in this type of book, Alex Kotlowitz puts an emotional face on the statistics of urban violence by telling many stories of those committing and charged with crimes, the victims of violence, and the families of both in Southside Chicago. An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago is anchored in the summer of 2013, but a snapshot of time cannot truly exist without context. This forces the highly-reported vignettes to unspool both backwards and forwards in time. This collection of stories is connected at edges–sometimes only through the author’s interaction–but it ultimately points not at the violence, but at the economic and societal forces as the cause for the deterioration of this Chicago community.

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