Pulitzer Prize finalist Nicholas Dawidoff will be appearing at The Westport Library on Thursday, May 25, at 7 pm to talk about his riveting 2022 book, The Other Side of Prospect: A Story of Violence, Injustice, and the American City.
Dawidoff will be in conversation with Norwalk Community College Professor and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Althea Seaborn.
Books will be available for purchase and signing at the event. Register here for this free event.
Dawidoff is the critically acclaimed author of five books, including The Catcher Was a Spy, The Fly Swatter, and In the Country of Country. In addition to being a Pulitzer Prize finalist for The Fly Swatter, he has also been a Guggenheim, Berlin Prize, and Art for Justice Fellow.
For The Other Side of Prospect, Dawidoff returned to his hometown of New Haven, Connecticut, and dedicated eight years to researching and writing. Urban decay, white flight, redlining — the transformation of Newhallville, in Dawidoff’s telling, make these symptoms of racist neglect vividly clear. As Bobby, the subject of the book, says, “Lack of jobs. Men don’t know how to be. That’s the tragedy of our world.”
The Other Side of Prospect was a finalist for the New York Public Library's Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism and also for the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel Award for Media and the Arts.
Description from book publisher W.W. Norton & Company:
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 16-year-old Bobby being sentenced to prison for 38 years.
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.”
Nicholas Dawidoff Discusses ‘The Other Side of Prospect: A Story of Violence, Justice, and the American City'
Thursday, May 25
Trefz Forum, The Westport Library