“An American Summer” by Alex Kotlowitz chronicles one summer’s worth of gun deaths in Chicago. Kotlowitz has collected a “spellbinding collection” of intimate profiles that include families who have lost members, killers who live with regret, and witnesses scarred by what they have seen. Kotlowitz “offers a piercingly honest portrait” of a city awash in arms and violence. “Punishment without Crime” by Alexandra Natapoff takes a look at America’s “misdemeanor machine“. The fees and jail sentences for these small offences feed the prison industry but stigmatize and impoverish the convicted. Author Natapoff takes us through the system and tallies the costs.