CRF Blog

‘The Short and Tragic Life’ explores class, race

by Bill Hayes

In ‘The Short and Tragic Life’ explores class, race for the Los Angeles Times, Hector Tobar reviews The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League by Jeff Hobbs.

Despite the baggage of a childhood in an especially grim corner of Newark and of a father in prison, Peace triumphed at Yale. He did so in a field whose very name sounds daunting: molecular biophysics and biochemistry. At the same time, he was a real-life version of the protagonist of “Breaking Bad.” He was an educated and cultured man who kept himself and his family afloat by dealing illicit drugs.

“He simply went to class, did his work, got A’s,” Hobbs writes of Peace’s time at Yale. “That he did so while smoking (and dealing) copious amounts of marijuana only made him more of a marvel …. [more]