An American Summer

An American Summer

Love and Death in Chicago

Large Print - 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 community? Drawing on his decades of experience, Alex Kotlowitz set out to chronicle one summer in the city, writing about individuals who have emerged from the violence and whose stories capture the capacity -- and the breaking point -- of the human heart and soul. The result is a spellbinding collection of deeply intimate profiles 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 twenty years later is still trying to come to terms with what he's done; a devoted school social worker struggling 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 piercingly honest portrait of a city in turmoil. These sketches of those left standing will get into your bones. This one summer will stay with you.
Publisher: Waterville :, Thorndike Press, A part of Gale, a Cengage Company,, [2019]
ISBN: 9781432866365
Branch Call Number: LT 364.150835 KO
Characteristics: 525 pages (large print) ; 22 cm
large print,rda


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Feb 02, 2020

I loved this book! As someone who has lived, lives or visits some of the communities I felt all the stories in this book. I had to "breathe" a few times. This book will cause you to get emotional! It's a great book! Well written and the stories will leave you thinking! This book is my neighborhood, my stories of the stories of family and friends. So many of these stories are things I've seen, been through or others have. This book gives you a chance to learn the story behind the people in Chicago who don't get to tell their stories. Trauma is real and how we carry it in places like Chicago should be understood ! Please do yourself a favor and grab a copy. You won't be disappointed.

Oct 13, 2019

I love reading this book, An American Summer. At first the book opens up as a continuation to There Are No Children Here since Kotlowitz's reveals that he had become Pharoah's guardian. Later on, Kotlowtiz chronicles his visit to a bar and he reveals that he had become Jimmy Lee's friend, the infamous gang lord that ruled the Henry Horner homes in There Are No Children.
Later on, I was able to read Chapter 11 and read about Eddie Bocengera, an ex-con who was tricked to become a gang member. While suffering the consequences of serving prison time, Eddie Bocenegra became inspired to get out of his predicament.
Over all, I enjoyed reading American Summer. Yet, I wish Kotlowitz would have made more references to the people that were discusses in his original book, There Are No Children Here.

Jul 14, 2019

“I love this city but it can be tiring”. I’ve always been proud to say that I was born and raised in Chicago. But lately, my city has become synonymous with sky rocketing gun violence especially in the summer. I’m not sure if it's me getting older and I’m starting to pay attention or if the recent economic cutbacks and segregation are contributing. Maybe a little bit of both.
An American Summer introduces different Chicago residents as they tell their stories about how they have been affected by gun violence. You meet former gangbangers and drug dealers trying to redeem themselves, grieving mothers trying to find purpose after losing a child, social workers trying to protect their students from the physical and psychological effects of the constant violence and death, witnesses to shootings that are terrified to come forward with their testimony, victims that were shot and killed by CPD officers, and politicians trying to figure out the best approach: get rid of the gangs or invest in the community?
This book was eye opening and emotional. I found myself Googling names and putting a face to the story. Those stories were the most heartbreaking of all. Overall though, I highly recommend this book especially to Chicagoans.

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.

Apr 30, 2019

chapter 17 (the disco tour) provides great insight into this catastrophe.


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