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Nicholas Dawidoff Discusses ‘The Other Side of Prospect: A Story of Violence, Justice, and the American City'

May 25, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm EDT

book cover of THE OTHER SIDE OF PROSPECT by Nick Dawidoff

Learn more about the unjust incarceration of Bobby, a boy from New Haven who was wrongly convicted of a murder in 2006 from Nicholas Dawidoff and his book, The Other Side of Prospect: A Story of Violence, Injustice, and the American City.  He will be in conversation with Althea Seaborn.

Please let us know if you'll be joining the discussion by registering here. Books will be available for purchase and signing at the event.


Dawidoff, a New Haven native, returned to the city and dedicated eight years to researching and writing this book. Urban decay, white flight, redlining — the transformation of Newhallville, in Dawidoff’s telling, make these symptoms of racist neglect vividly clear. As Bobby says, “Lack of jobs. Men don’t know how to be. That’s the tragedy of our world.” Without present fathers or after-school activities, boys find power and agency in guns — for example, in the case of the suspected murderer of Fields, a young man named Major who completes the book’s group portrait.

Bobby was caught in this world, but he didn’t murder Fields. Why did he confess? There’s a long history, we learn, of marginalized Americans falsely confessing. Dawidoff’s account of Bobby’s years in prison illustrates the national tragedy of mass incarceration, how it depersonalizes crime and punishment, failing to see the accused as individuals. He uncovers Bobby’s “world inside a world ... people whose second chance was giving him a second chance” — older inmates who led a book club devoted to James Baldwin, Richard Wright, and other writers who offer insight into Bobby’s world.

Miraculously, Bobby won his release from prison in 2015, aided by a dogged white lawyer, who discovered the case and fought to prove his innocence. Suddenly reentering the outside world as an adult when he’d left it as a child, Bobby struggles to adjust without the structure of prison.


Nicholas Dawidoff is the critically acclaimed author of five books, including The Catcher Was a Spy and In the Country of Country. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and has also been a Guggenheim, Berlin Prize, and Art for Justice Fellow.


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Hartford Courant
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May 25, 2023
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm EDT
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