Download The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League Audiobook

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League Audiobook, by Jeff Hobbs Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Jeff Hobbs Narrator: Narrator Info Added Soon Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2014 ISBN: 9781442380424
5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 5.00 (1 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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A heartfelt, and riveting biography of the short life of a talented young African-American man who escapes the slums of Newark for Yale University only to succumb to the dangers of the streets—and of one’s own nature—when he returns home.

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, “fronting” in Yale, and at home.

Through an honest rendering of Robert’s relationships—with his struggling mother, with his incarcerated father, with his teachers and friends and fellow drug dealers—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 Newark, New Jersey, and the difficulty of going from one to the other and then back again. It’s about poverty, the challenges of single motherhood, and the struggle to find male role models in a community where a man is more likely to go to prison than to college. It’s about reaching one’s greatest potential and taking responsibility for your family no matter the cost. It’s about trying to live a decent life in America. But most all the story is about the tragic life of one singular brilliant young man. His end, a violent one, is heartbreaking and powerful and unforgettable. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Nuanced and shattering.”

    People magazine

  • “A haunting American tragedy for our times.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Heartbreaking.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “[Hobbs] asks the consummate American question: Is it possible to reinvent yourself, to sculpture your own destiny?…An interrogation of our national creed of self-invention.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “As much about class as it is race. Peace traveled across America’s widening social divide, and Hobbs’ book is an honest, insightful, and empathetic account of his sometimes painful, always strange journey.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “A first-rate book. [Hobbs] has a tremendous ability to empathize with all of his characters without romanticizing any of them.”

    Boston Globe

  • “A riveting and heartbreaking read, as Rob Peace seems always to have been on the outside—the resented geek in the hood and the inner-city black man in the Ivy League.”

    Amazon.com

  • “Ambitious, moving tale of an inner-city Newark kid who made it to Yale yet succumbed to old demons and economic realities…Hardscrabble parochial schools, Yale secret societies, urban political machinations, and Newark drug gangs. An urgent report on the state of American aspirations and a haunting dispatch from forsaken streets.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “A man with seemingly every opportunity loses his way in this compelling biographical saga…This is a classic tragedy of a man who, with the best intentions, chooses an ineluctable path to disaster.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “George Newbern’s calm but insistent voice sets the tone. His approach to the work is unhurried, and he makes sure we hear every word with the nuance it deserves in order to convey the author’s message. Newbern uses this same method with character voices, making sure that he differentiates them enough from the narrative and using enough inflection that we understand the people’s emotions and motivations.”

    AudioFile

  • “If The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace were a novel, it would be a moral fable for our times; as nonfiction, it is one of the saddest and most devastating books I’ve ever read, a tour-de-force of compassion and insight, an exquisite elegy for a person, for a time of life, for a valid hope that nonetheless failed. It is also a profound reflection on a society that professes to value social mobility but that often does not or cannot imbue privilege with justice. It is written with clarity, precision, and tenderness, without judgment, with immense kindness, and with a quiet poetry. Few books transform us, but this one has changed me forever.”

    Andrew Solomon, National Book Award–winning author of The Noonday Demon

  • “A poignant and powerful can’t-put-it-down book about friendship and loss. The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace takes you on a nail-biting, heartbreaking journey that will leave you moved, shaken, and ultimately changed. In this spectacularly written first work of nonfiction, Jeff Hobbs creates a singular and searing portrait of an unforgettable life.”

    Jennifer Gonnerman, author of Life on the Outside

  • “Jeff Hobbs has written a mesmerizingly beautiful book, a mournful, yet joyous celebration of his friend Robert Peace, this full-throated, loving, complicated man whose journey feels simultaneously heroic and tragic. This book is an absolute triumph—of empathy and of storytelling. Hobbs has accomplished something extraordinary: he’s made me feel like Peace was a part of my life, as well. Trust me on this, Peace is someone you need to get to know. He’ll leave you smiling. His story will leave you shaken.”

    Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here

  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, September 2014
  • A New York Times bestseller
  • An NPR bestseller
  • A Chicago Tribune Editor’s Choice
  • An Amazon Best Book for September 2014
  • A Publishers Weekly bestseller
  • A People Magazine Best Book of Fall 2014
  • A 2014 New York Times Notable Book
  • One of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2014
  • One of Audible’s Best Audiobooks of 2014: Editors' Pick
  • Longlisted for the 2015 PEN Literary Award
  • Winner of the 2015 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest

Listener Reviews

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  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 CJP | 4/27/2017

    " I had to read this book for a doctorate class I'm taking and I am glad I did! Robert Peace is an inspiration, as is his mother for how hard she worked to get him out of a dangerous life, one she was all to aware of. "

About the Author

Jeff Hobbs grew up in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania and graduated from Yale in 2002 with a BA in English language and literature. Hobbs spent three years traveling between New York and Tanzania, where he helped build the African Rainforest Conservancy. He now lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Rebecca, and their dog, Noah.