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Alex Kotlowitz has made a career out of mapping the lives of those who live in what he has called "the other America," in works like his award-winning 1992 bestseller There Are No Children Here, his documentary film The interrupters, and his wide-ranging reporting for newspapers, magazines and radio.  His revelatory, heartbreaking new book An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago takes up the problem of gun violence with a portrait of a single city over the course of one murder-wracked season.  It probes the nature of the crisis where it tears most persistently into the lives of ordinary Americans placed by poverty and racism into a daily struggle with the aftermath of violence and the fear of more to come. But An American Summer is a tapestry of story – a work about the Chicagoans who opened up their lives and hearts to Kotlowitz; the result is a powerful evocation of grief and endurance, love and loss.  We caught the author in New York, just as An American Summer was being released. He sat down in the studio with B&N's Miwa Messer to talk about how this book started – and what it became.

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