On the Run

  • by Alice Goffman
  • Narrated by Robin Miles
  • 11 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A riveting, groundbreaking account of how the war on crime has torn apart inner-city communities. Forty years in, the tough-on-crime turn in American politics has spurred a prison boom of historic proportions that disproportionately affects black communities. It has also torn at the lives of those on the outside. As arrest quotas and high-tech surveillance criminalize entire blocks, a climate of fear and suspicion pervades daily life, not only for young men entangled in the legal system but for their family members and working neighbors. Alice Goffman spent six years in one Philadelphia neighborhood, documenting the routine stops, searches, raids, and beatings that young men navigate as they come of age. In the course of her research, she became roommates with Mike and Chuck, two friends trying to make ends meet between low-wage jobs and the drug trade. Like many in the neighborhood, Mike and Chuck were caught up in a cycle of court cases, probation sentences, and low-level warrants, with no clear way out. We observe their girlfriends and mothers enduring raids and interrogations, "clean" residents struggling to go to school and work every day as the cops chase down neighbors in the streets, and others eking out livings by providing clean urine, fake documents, and off-the-books medical care. This fugitive world is the hidden counterpoint to mass incarceration, the grim underside of our nation's social experiment in punishing black men and their families. While recognizing the drug trade's damage, On the Run reveals a justice system gone awry: It is an exemplary work of scholarship highlighting the failures of the war on crime and a compassionate chronicle of the families caught in the midst of it.


What the Critics Say

"A remarkable feat of reporting.... The level of detail in this book and Goffman's ability to understand her subjects' motivations are astonishing - and riveting." (The New York Times Book Review)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Having just finished Ghettoside, I bought this book and found it equally insightful and moving. An amazing piece of work.
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- Slater8r

Amazing book, a real eye-opener

Do you think you even suspect what is going on in the US? I didn't. This book made me angry, made me cry, and made me feel ashamed of believing that finally Americans and the American government were really coming to terms with their racist history. I assume there must be similar books about other ethnic groups, Latinos, Asian, etc but I haven't gotten there yet. This really shows how the judicial system, the policing state and cultural ignorance can do to less favoured groups.
I'm ashamed! And I don't even live there!
A strong reading, I really recommend it, and hope you have the mindset to understand and accept the message it delivers.
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- Pamela Kiewitt

Book Details

  • Release Date: 21-07-2015
  • Publisher: Audible Studios