Upcoming Event

Matt Taibbi

discusses

I Can't Breathe: 
A Killing on Bay Street

in conversation with ROBIN YOUNG

Tickets on sale now

This event includes a book signing

Date

Oct
25
Wednesday
October 25, 2017
7:00 PM
(Doors at 6:30 )

Location

First Parish Church
1446 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets

$28.75 (online only, book included) - On Sale Now $5.00 - On Sale Now

Harvard Book Store welcomes bestselling author and journalist MATT TAIBBI for a discussion of his latest book, I Can't Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street. He will be joined in conversation by ROBIN YOUNG, the Peabody Award–winning host of NPR's Here & Now.

About I Can't Breathe

On July 17, 2014, a forty-three-year-old black man named Eric Garner died on a Staten Island sidewalk after a police officer put him in what has been described as an illegal chokehold during an arrest for selling bootleg cigarettes. The final moments of Garner’s life were captured on video and seen by millions. His agonized last words, “I can’t breathe,” became a rallying cry for the nascent Black Lives Matter protest movement. A grand jury ultimately declined to indict the officer who wrestled Garner to the pavement.

Matt Taibbi’s deeply reported retelling of these events liberates Eric Garner from the abstractions of newspaper accounts and lets us see the man in full—with all his flaws and contradictions intact. A husband and father with a complicated personal history, Garner was neither villain nor victim, but a fiercely proud individual determined to do the best he could for his family, bedeviled by bad luck, and ultimately subdued by forces beyond his control. 

In America, no miscarriage of justice exists in isolation, of course, and in I Can’t Breathe Taibbi also examines the conditions that made this tragedy possible. Featuring vivid vignettes of life on the street and inside our Kafkaesque court system, Taibbi’s kaleidoscopic account illuminates issues around policing, mass incarceration, the underground economy, and racial disparity in law enforcement. No one emerges unsullied, from the conservative district attorney who half-heartedly prosecutes the case to the progressive mayor caught between the demands of outraged activists and the foot-dragging of recalcitrant police officials. 

A masterly narrative of urban America and a scathing indictment of the perverse incentives built into our penal system, I Can’t Breathe drills down into the particulars of one case to confront us with the human cost of our broken approach to dispensing criminal justice.

Matt Taibbi
Matt Taibbi

Matt Taibbi

Matt Taibbi has been a contributing editor for Rolling Stone and the author of five previous books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Great Derangement and Griftopia, and The Divide. He lives in New Jersey.

Photo Credit: Robin Holland

Robin Young
Robin Young

Robin Young

Robin Young is the host of NPR's Here & Now. She is a Peabody Award–winning documentary filmmaker who has also reported for NBC, CBS and ABC television, and for several years was substitute host and correspondent for The Today Show. Robin has received several Emmy Awards for her television work, as well as cable’s Ace Award, the Religious Public Relations Council’s Wilbur Award and the National Conference of Christians and Jews Gold Award. She has also received radio’s regional Edward R. Murrow Award. Her documentary “The Los Altos Story,” made in association with the Rotary Club of Los Altos, Calif., won the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award and is now the backbone of a worldwide HIV/AIDS awareness initiative.

First Parish Church
1446 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, cross Mass. Ave. and look for the newsstand called Crimson Corner. Turn right and proceed north along Mass. Ave. going toward the Cambridge Common. You will pass the Harvard Coop, Bank of America, and CVS. The First Parish Church is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Church St. Please enter through the front door of the church.

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