On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City

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Product Details

University of Chicago Press
Publish Date
6.44 X 9.46 X 1.07 inches | 1.25 pounds

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About the Author

Alice Goffman is assistant professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She lives in Madison.


"A remarkable feat of reporting."--Alex Kotlowitz "New York Times Book Review "
"An exceptional book. . . . Devastating."--Malcolm Gladwell "New Yorker "
"Alice Goffman's On the Run is the best treatment I know of the wretched underside of neo-liberal capitalist America. Despite the social misery and fragmented relations, she gives us a subtle analysis and poignant portrait of our fellow citizens who struggle to preserve their sanity and dignity."--Cornel West
"On the Run is riveting--a clear-headed and sobering account of the 'way it is' for too many of the nation's young black men who live in the killing fields called American cities. It reveals how the everyday lives of these men--their loved ones--are closely monitored and mined for evidence that is then used against them, exacerbating their alienation and fueling the prison-industrial complex. This brilliant book should be required reading for everyone, including President Obama, Congress, and public officials throughout the nation."--Elijah Anderson, author of Code of the Street
"On the Run tells, in gripping, hard-won detail, what it's like to be trapped on the wrong side of the law with no way out--the situation of so many young Black Americans today. A brilliant fieldworker and a smart analyst of what she saw and heard, Goffman has made a lasting contribution to our understanding of the administration of the law, urban life and race relations, in a book you will never forget reading."--Howard Becker, author of Writing for Social Scientists
"By turns On the Run is heartbreaking and clear-eyed, sad and entangled. With rich ethnographic detail, Alice Goffman reveals the emotional arc of deceptively complex young lives that are criminalized daily in one Black neighborhood in Philadelphia. A triumphant achievement!"--Carol Stack, author of All Our Kin
"This is a remarkable chronicle, informed by Goffman's scholarship, detailed from personal experience as 'participant observer, ' and related with honesty and compassion."--Publishers Weekly

"This is a truly wonderful book that identifies the casualties of the war on drugs that extend beyond the prison walls. The punitive ghettoisation of the poor leaves few families untouched. The detail is incredible. The research is impeccable. Read it and weep."

--Times Higher Education
"Extraordinary. . . . The best work of ethnography I have read in a very, very long time."--LSE Review of Books
"Powerful. . . . It's clear that Goffman didn't just research this book; she lived it. . . . Goffman has a gift for bringing to life the troubles and anxieties of ordinary people. . . . Invaluable. . . . A dramatic record of how race is still a key predictor of whether or not some young Americans will have a chance at a 'pursuit of happiness.'"--Los Angeles Review of Books