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On the Run - Fugitive Life in an American City - cover

On the Run - Fugitive Life in an American City

Alice Goffman

Publisher: The University of Chicago Press

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Summary

“A remarkable chronicle . . . related with honesty and compassion,” this ethnography reveals “the impact of probation and parole practices on one community” (Publisher Weekly). 
 
The War on Drugs has done almost nothing to prevent drugs from being sold or used, but it has created a little-known surveillance state in America’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. 
 
Alice Goffman spent six years living in one such neighborhood in Philadelphia, and her observations reveal the effects of this pervasive policing. Goffman introduces us to an unforgettable cast of young African American men who are caught up in this web of warrants and surveillance. All find the net of presumed criminality, built as it is on the very associations and friendships that make up a life, nearly impossible to escape. We watch as the pleasures of summer-evening stoop-sitting are shattered by the arrival of a carful of cops looking to serve a warrant; we watch as teenagers teach their younger siblings and cousins how to run from the police, and we see, over and over, the relentless toll that the presumption of criminality takes on families—and futures. 
 
Through her gripping accounts of daily life in the forgotten neighborhoods of America’s cities, Goffman makes it impossible to ignore the very real human costs of our failed response. 
 
“Extraordinary.” —Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker 
 
“A remarkable feat of reporting. . . . Astonishing—and riveting.” —The New York Times Book Review 
 
“Goffman’s lively prose . . . opens a window into a life where paranoia has become routine.” —Baltimore City Paper 
 
“[Goffman] gives us a subtle analysis and poignant portrait of our fellow citizens who struggle to preserve their sanity and dignity.” —Cornel West, author of Race Matters
Available since: 04/22/2014.
Print length: 294 pages.

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