The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs


The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs

An instant New York Times bestseller, named a best book of the year by The New York Times Book Review, Amazon, and Entertainment Weekly, among others, this celebrated account of a young African-American man who escaped Newark, NJ, to attend Yale, but still faced the dangers of the streets when he returned is, “nuanced and shattering” (People) and “mesmeric” (The New York Times Book Review).

When author Jeff Hobbs arrived at Yale University, he became fast friends with the man who would be his college roommate for four years, Robert Peace. Robert’s life was rough from the beginning in the crime-ridden streets of Newark in the 1980s, with his father in jail and his mother earning less than $15,000 a year. But Robert was a brilliant student, and it was supposed to get easier when he was accepted to Yale, where he studied molecular biochemistry and biophysics. But it didn’t get easier. Robert carried with him the difficult dual nature of his existence, trying to fit in at Yale, and at home on breaks.

A compelling and honest portrait of Robert’s relationships—with his struggling mother, with his incarcerated father, with his teachers and friends—The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace encompasses the most enduring conflicts in America: race, class, drugs, community, imprisonment, education, family, friendship, and love. It’s about the collision of two fiercely insular worlds—the ivy-covered campus of Yale University and the slums of Newark, New Jersey, and the difficulty of going from one to the other and then back again. It’s about trying to live a decent life in America. But most all this “fresh, compelling” (The Washington Post) story is about the tragic life of one singular brilliant young man. His end, a violent one, is heartbreaking and powerful and “a haunting American tragedy for our times” (Entertainment Weekly).

From Publishers Weekly

Jul 28, 2014 – A man with seemingly every opportunity loses his way in this compelling biographical saga. Novelist Hobbs (The Tourists) chronicles the life of Peace, who was born in a Newark, N.J., ghetto to an impoverished single mom and a father who went to prison for murder. Thanks to his mother's sacrifices and his extraordinary intellect he went to Yale and got a biology degree but when he returned to Newark after college, he became a drug dealer and was eventually shot to death by rivals. Writing with novelistic detail and deep insight, Hobbs, who was Peace's roommate at Yale, registers the disadvantages his friend faced while avoiding hackneyed fatalism and sociology. Hobbs reveals a man whose singular experience and charisma made him simultaneously an outsider and a leader in both New Haven and Newark, Peace was a pillar of his family and community, superbly capable in both settings, but he could not reconcile their conflicting demands. (The author's indelible portrait of Peace's inner-city neighborhood shows how it could draw him back from the world his talent and education had opened.) This is a classic tragedy of a man who, with the best intentions, chooses an ineluctable path to disaster. Photos.

Customer Reviews

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace

The paradox of Robert Peace is the promise and paradox of our nation. We are a nation of people with hopes and dreams of a better future. But the Devil is in the details. Those hopes and dreams are too often left unrealized. As some citizens enjoy the privileges of the promise, so far many more reach for the promise but are defeated by forces beyond their control.
There are no easy resolutions to the disparities wrought by race, class and economic inequalities. For many, these are invisible in their lives. For far too many of us, they are all too visible, tangible and too often deadly. The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace is the tale of a good man, a gifted man, a well educated and well loved man who could not escape the forces of poverty, ignorance, greed and hate.

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace

All I read is non-fiction and I have read hundreds of books. This book was so well written, so incredibly interesting, that you felt like you were walking along side Rob all thru the book. I could not put this book down. A hard to believe true story, so sad that you had to keep telling yourself that this a true story. Thank you.

Brilliant young man

This was a wonderful book but with a tragic end. If only we were all more like Shawn. So smart, caring and a hard worker. His mother raised a great man. We all make mistakes and no one is ever perfect. We all need to realize how lucky we are and how we are raised. Life is so short and we take so many things for granted. We the public are also quick to judge others and we never look at judging ourselves. Jeff, thank you so much for telling us this story. Has there been any arrests? It seems like the police just shoved this under the rug. Someone out there knows something and hopefully it will come out. Maybe dateline or 20/20 will pick this up. Hopefully whoever ended Shawn's life is feeling very guilty and regret.

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Android, Win, *Nix, and more.
  • Category: Social Science
  • Published: Sep 23, 2014
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Seller: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
  • Print Length: 416 Pages
  • Language: English

Customer Ratings

461 Ratings