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7 New Books We Recommend This Week

AN AMERICAN SUMMER: Love and Death in Chicago, by Alex Kotlowitz. (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, $27.95.) Kotlowitz’s detailed account of reckless brutality in Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods probes the damage stemming from exposure to violence. He interviews an expansive cast of characters, including ordinary people whose lives have been shredded by bullets and guns. Our reviewer, Eric Klinenberg, calls it “a powerful indictment of a city and a nation that have failed to protect their most vulnerable residents, or to register the depth of their pain. … Kotlowitz aims to tell unforgettable stories about the afterlife of homicide, how it penetrates the minds, bodies and communities of those it touches. He succeeds.”

GOOD KIDS, BAD CITY: A Story of Race and Wrongful Conviction in America, by Kyle Swenson. (Picador, $29.) Swenson’s reporting for The Cleveland Scene, an alternative weekly newspaper, led to the exoneration of three men who served decades in prison after they were wrongfully convicted of murder in the 1970s. Here he expands that account to take in the larger circumstances behind their arrest. “It’s the story of a grave injustice, whose long-overdue correction delivers a strong emotional punch when it finally arrives,” Alec MacGillis writes in his review. “More broadly, it’s a story about negligence, about all the ways in which residents of cities such as Cleveland have been left abandoned by government and society at large. There’s so much talk these days about the great urban rebirth that the persistent struggles of non-superstar cities are too often overlooked. Swenson does a service simply by capturing the daily demoralization of existence in such a place.”

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