66. An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago by Alex Kotlowitz
Alex Kotlowitz sets out to chronicle the effect of violence in Chicago over the course of one summer talking to both victims and perpetrators of violence. As with his earlier book There Are No Children Here he really embeds himself in the community to get a full picture of what leads to the horrendous amount of violence plaguing certain parts of the city.
There Are No Children Here is one of the first sort of sociological books of this ilk that I can remember reading and really set off my interest in this area of study, so I was super excited to read this book. It did not disappoint. Kotlowitz again provides a heartbreaking and honest look at how systems and people have let whole groups of people down leading to what seems like the senseless violence plaguing parts of Chicago. He very much sticks to talking about Chicago, but as someone who lives in Baltimore everything he talked about could have been taking place here and I’m sure in many other cities across America. I give it a 9 out of 10.