It’s summer on the South Side of Chicago, and ten-year-old boys Earl and Wilford are frequently courtside watching their role model Nathaniel “Cornbread” Hamilton as he prepares to leave for college on a basketball scholarship. Their world comes crashing down in an alley when two cops—one white, one black—mistake Cornbread for a fleeing burglary suspect. What follows threatens to tear apart the community. Earl and Wilford know what happened, but will they stand up for their hero in a city in which power trumps justice, and each player must decide whether to fold to the system, or risk losing it all?
Instantly recognized as a gritty classic when it was first published in 1966, Hog Butcher was later adapted for the 1975 film Cornbread, Earl and Me. This new edition brings back into print Fair’s startlingly relevant indictment of Chicago’s inequalities.
“Talk like that could start a revolution!” —Nikki Giovanni
“If the novel were longer, and more naturalistic, it could become the final part of a Chicago trilogy, the first two-thirds having been written by James T. Farrell and Nelson Algren; for, like the work of these two men, Hog Butcher offers a view of the city’s shame.” —Saturday Review
“A moving indictment of the hypocrisy and tragedy of segregation in a land professing a religious and democratic way of life . . . an effectively compact, vivid, troubling book.” —Booklist