Celebrating the Power of the Written Word to Create Change
On July 22, 2020, Goddard Riverside invited the community to join us for an online discussion about race, policing, and gun violence with the winners of our 2019 Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice—Alex Kotlowitz, author of An American Summer, and Jan Haldipur, author of No Place on the Corner.
The Book Prize celebrates the power of the written word to create change in the name of justice for all people—a value shared by the publishing community and Goddard Riverside. Learn more.
About the Books
An American Summer by Alex Kotlowitz
From the bestselling author of There Are No Children Here, a richly textured, heartrending portrait of love and death in Chicago’s most turbulent neighborhoods.
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.
Purchase An American Summer
No Place on the Corner by Jan Haldipur
What’s it like to be stopped and frisked by the police while walking home from the supermarket with your young children? How does it feel to receive a phone call from your fourteen-year-old son who is in the back of a squad car because he laughed at a police officer? How does a young person of color cope with being frisked several times a week since the age of 15? These are just some of the stories in No Place on the Corner, which draws on three years of intensive ethnographic fieldwork in the South Bronx before and after the landmark 2013 Floyd v. City of New York decision that ruled that the NYPD’s controversial “stop and frisk” policing methods were a violation of rights.
Through riveting interviews and with a humane eye, Jan Haldipur shows how a community endured this aggressive policing regime. Though the police mostly targeted younger men of color, Haldipur focuses on how everyone in the neighborhood—mothers, fathers, grandparents, brothers and sisters, even the district attorney’s office—was affected by this intense policing regime and thus shows how this South Bronx community as a whole experienced this collective form of punishment. One of Haldipur’s key insights is to demonstrate how police patrols effectively cleared the streets of residents and made public spaces feel off-limits or inaccessible to the people who lived there. In this way community members lost the very ‘street corner’ culture that has been a hallmark of urban spaces. This profound social consequence of aggressive policing effectively keeps neighbors out of one another’s lives and deeply hurts a community’s sense of cohesion.
No Place on the Corner makes it hard to ignore the widespread consequences of aggressive policing tactics in major cities across the United States.
Purchase No Place on the Corner
Please use code HALDIPUR30 for your purchase