Alice Goffman is now an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and she spent over six years in research and living in a neighborhood in Philadelphia where none of us would wish to live. She spent numerous hours developing relationships and trust with people that do not know what the true meaning of these words are. She shows us the plight of the African-American male and the challenges that they have in dealing with the police as well as the criminal justice system. She shows through personal experience the effects that this has on family, girlfriends, and jobs and how this develops into in my opinion, a relationship that is built on fear and mistrust. This is because of the influence that the police and criminal justice system place in putting these people in a position of slavery so to speak.
I have recently read numerous nonfiction books this year, but I would put this on the top of my list because Ms. Goffman, using her field notes and her relationships with this neighborhood has written an evenly balanced book in showing what life is truly like in this neighborhood. There are numerous examples throughout the book, where she put herself at risk in really delving in to the mindset of the people involved in this book. I have to say that I give this 5 stars out of 5. To me, it is a must read if you wish to understand the culture and misfortune of the poor in the inner cities of America.
I have included a video where Ms. Goffman discusses her book: