by Sukey HowardApril, 1998
Alex Kotlowitz grapples with hard problems and brings to them even perspective, enormous compassion, and a good reporter's eye and ear for the truth. In The Other Side of the River (5+ hours), read by Stanley Tucci, Kotlowitz deals with racism and the legacy of the legends and myths that inform and shape our feelings about it. In 1992, he heard the story of a 16-year-old black boy who was found dead, floating in the St. Joseph river, between Benton Harbor, Michigan, a poor, black town and St. Joseph, its prosperous, white opposite. Increasingly obsessed with the incident, Kotlowitz spent the next five years searching for answers. He didn't find them, but his intense investigation, reported here in short takes that add up to a full and fascinating picture of these two small towns, illuminates the racial problems that beset America. Reviewed by Sukey Howard.