ISTSS members may be familiar with Alex Kotlowitz’s reporting on the precariousness of life in inner-city sections of Chicago. Some may also remember his presentation at the 2010 ISTSS Annual Meeting with Eddie Bocanegra, of the film The Interrupters
(2011), about a team of neighborhood activists who try to intercede to prevent cycles retributional violence. In his most recent book, An American Summer,
Kotlowitz reports in depth on the unfolding of several killings during the Chicago summer of 2013 and their far-reaching effects. Also included is Bocanegra’s own story of violence, his current career as a social worker and his prominence in developing community violence prevention and recovery programs.
In past columns, we have almost exclusively presented examples of the psychological effects of trauma as depicted in works of fiction. This time a non-fiction example was chosen because of its compelling portrayal of a phenomenon which may be difficult for those who haven’t experienced or seen it to confidently acknowledge: the vivid reenactment by a survivor of a traumatic event years after it occurred. As can be seen in the following passages, other effects of psychological trauma on those experiencing it directly as well as their families, friends and others involved are movingly presented.
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