The New York Times

CORRECTION: Growing Up With Murder All Around

“An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago”

By Alex Kotlowitz

287 pages. Nan A. Talese/Doubleday. $27.95.

On July 22, 2012, Darren Easterling was murdered in Park Forest, a mostly African-American suburb south of Chicago. Two days later, the local newspaper published a short article, headlined “Man Shot to Death in Park Forest Had Drug, Weapons Conviction,” that highlighted his criminal history. The story did not directly blame Easterling for his own homicide, but the implication was unmistakable: This was a man who lived and died among coldblooded killers. He got what he should have expected, if not what he deserved.

Easterling’s mother, Lisa, tells a different story. In high school, her athletic son had been a football player and an avid fan of documentary films. He wrote sweet birthday cards and letters. He had two children, and was an attentive, affectionate father. Lisa was all-too-aware of his dark side. Years before, she had kicked him out of her house for dealing

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