The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace

A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League

Book - 2014 | First Scribner hardcover edition.
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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.
Publisher: New York, NY :, Scribner,, 2014.
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781476731902
Characteristics: viii, 406 pages : illustrations


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EverythingTouches Jul 05, 2018

It was very meaningful to me to walk in the shoes of someone who had a life and experiences so very different than what I could comprehend. In a clear and understandable way, this book shows how the stereotypical white American’s road to prosperity and success does not lead to the same results for African Americans, especially for those who face racial and class issues so profoundly more challenging than our own.

Jul 27, 2017

You know from the outset, the title, that things will not end well for Robert Peace and somehow, that doesn't keep his story from being any less compelling. A young man who seemingly had the world at his fingertips - against all odds - was unable to grasp that golden ring and lead him to the successes which were within his reach. Why? The author provides no direct answers, thankfully, but his detailed study of the life of Rob Pence leaves the reader with the ability to draw their own conclusions. As a result, this book is not only a fabulous read but also one which would give a book group and endless amount of discussion avenues. Read it; excellent.

May 20, 2017

Fascinating. Truth is stranger than fiction. This book should be studied in American sociology classes. The conflict and struggle among many disparate worlds and personalities is ultimately, as the title states, tragic. I was mostly rooting for Rob as he rose above his circumstances as a child, and I recommended it to my teenagers. Then I read more, and I was horrified, and I told my kids to skip it. This is a story of a man's roots being a towering anchor. I don't think a sheltered white writer is the right person to write this book, as real world racism rarely figures into the telling, and that's a significant deficit when trying to understand Rob Peace's tragically flawed decision-making process.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 05, 2016


Mar 08, 2016

This was a great book. The story was so captivating. Both the story's content (the life of such a smart young man) and the author's writing style worked together to spin a great story that will remain in your heart and mind long after the last page is read.

Sep 22, 2015

Although I enjoyed the book, I feel as if it could have been shorter. This goes to show you that not everyone that is brilliant and goes to an ivy league school ends up perfect. This is a reality check for the younger generation.

Sep 03, 2015

This is one of these factual stories that will stay with you forever. I could not put this book down ... and after I was finished, I could not get this young man out of my head. What a great loss to the science world! Degrees in biochemistry/astrophysics. You have to be heavy in the brains department to get degrees in these two science majors. I sincerely hope Mr. Peace is finally at peace. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READING.

Aug 23, 2015

This story has stayed with me even months after having finished the book - which I could not put down - total heartbreaker - left me wanting to do good in Robert Peace's name - if your reading this review don't even hesitate - read the book -

MaryBee Jun 25, 2015

This book was very compelling. It traces the course of Robert's short, and yes, tragic life. The influences in Robert's life were varied, but even a Yale education and the support of many friends and family could not influence the trajectory of his life. I could not put this book down.

Jabberwock12 May 13, 2015

If you're going to read one book this year, you should take a look at The Short & Tragic Life of Robert Peace. You don't really know anyone, even your best friend(s). A standout in the classroom and a star athlete, he had the makings of a future role model but his own upbringing and what I believe his goal to be just like his dad was his own downfall. Getting caught up in the illegal sales of marijuana, he was the mastermind behind a giant drug trade worthy of HBOs The Wire but played it off to his friends and family like nothing was going on. This book makes you one and the same with Robert Peace and by the time you get to the end, it's like hearing bad news about a close friend. I'd say it was a good to very good read. I felt like the book could have wrapped up some 50 - 100 pages before it did finally but it's one that's worth the time.

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Jabberwock12 May 13, 2015

Jabberwock12 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 15 and 99


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