Reading list: Two new books about two kinds of gun violence

Endemic violence in Chicago and a reporter killed on live TV in Virginia

Journalist, author, and filmmaker Alex Kotlowitz tells the story of gun violence during the summer of 2013 in his new book "An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago."

According to a review in The New York Times:

"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."

Kotlowitz read a passage on NPR's Fresh Air:

"Chicago has become a symbol for the personal and collective wreckage, a kind of protracted cry of distress in the streets of the nation's most impoverished and segregated neighborhoods. Citizens killing citizens, children killing children, police killing young black men. A carnage so long-lasting, so stubborn, so persistent that it's made it virtually impossible to have a reasonable conversation about poverty in the country and has certainly clouded any conversation about race."

A section of the book is adapted by the author at

"Ramaine’s death has been especially hard on Nijajuan. He tells me that the smell of the pooling blood follows him everywhere. It’s like concentrated vinegar, and he’ll push it away for a while, only to have it return with such power it’s as if he’s back in the hospital room sitting with his dying brother."

There's also an interview with Kotlowitz at The Trace, and at the end he was invited to add anything he hadn't been asked about:

"Running through many of the stories is this notion of forgiveness. For many of the people in the book it’s this effort to forgive themselves and the people around them. I was just kind of inspired by this capacity of people to forgive."

Kotlowitz is also the author of the 1991 bestseller "There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in The Other America" and co-produced the 2011 documentary The Interrupters, which you can watch online at

For Alison

People watching at home heard the gunshots when Emmy Award–winning twenty-four-year-old reporter Alison Parker was murdered on live television, along with her colleague, photojournalist Adam Ward in 2015.

Her father Andy Parker shares his story in another new book released this week: "For Alison: The Murder of a Young Journalist and a Father's Fight for Gun Safety."

In an interview with People, Parker said:

“I felt like I had to do it for the people who have lost their lives to gun violence and most importantly, I had to do it for Alison. I needed to tell her story.”

Women Against Gun Violence tweeted a photo of the Parker with his daughter:

Fox News interviewed Parker yesterday:

Tonight, he will be speaking at The National Press Club.