One of Literary Hub's Most Anticipated Books of 2022
A landmark work of intimate reporting on inequality, race, class, and violence, told through a murder and intersecting lives in an iconic American neighborhood.
One New Haven summer evening in 2006, a retired grandfather was shot point-blank by a young stranger. A hasty police investigation culminated in innocent sixteen-year-old Bobby being sentenced to prison for thirty-eight years. New Haven native and acclaimed author Nicholas Dawidoff returned home and spent eight years reporting the deeper story of this injustice, and what it reveals about the enduring legacies of social and economic disparity.
In The Other Side of Prospect, he has produced an immersive portrait of a seminal community in an old American city now beset by division and gun violence. Tracing the histories of three people whose lives meet in tragedy—victim Pete Fields, likely murderer Major, and Bobby—Dawidoff indelibly describes optimistic families coming north from South Carolina as part of the Great Migration, for the promise of opportunity and upward mobility, and the harrowing costs of deindustrialization and neglect. Foremost are the unique challenges confronted by children like Major and Bobby coming of age in their “forgotten” neighborhood, steps from Yale University. After years in prison, with the help of a true-believing lawyer, Bobby is finally set free. His subsequent struggles with the memories of prison, and his heartbreaking efforts to reconnect with family and community, exemplify the challenges the formerly incarcerated face upon reentry into society and, writes Reginald Dwayne Betts, make this “the best book about the crisis of incarceration in America.”
The Other Side of Prospect is a reportorial tour de force, at once a sweeping account of how the injustices of racism and inequality reverberate through the generations, and a beautifully written portrait of American city life, told through a group of unforgettable people and their intertwined experiences.
Nicholas Dawidoff is the critically acclaimed author of five books, including The Catcher Was a Spy and In the Country of a Country. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and has also been a Guggenheim, Berlin Prize, and Art for Justice Fellow.
James Forman, Jr. is the J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law at Yale Law School. He attended public schools in Detroit and New York City before graduating from the Atlanta’s Roosevelt High School, Brown University, and Yale Law School. Forman began his legal career as a staff attorney at D.C.’s Public Defender Service, where he worked for six years. While there, he co-founded the Maya Angelou Schools, a network of alternative school for young people who have struggled in school, dropped out, or have been arrested. Professor Forman teaches criminal law and a seminar called Inside Out: Issues in Criminal Justice, in which Yale students study alongside incarcerated men and women. He is the faculty director of Yale’s Center for Law and Racial Justice and the founder of the Access to Law School Program, an innovative pipeline program serving first-generation and under-represented minority students from New Haven and Connecticut who wish to pursue a legal career. His first book, Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize.