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“Under the Wheel’

Excellence in Human Interest Storytelling, honoring Ernie Pyle

The Boston Globe, 2022

Author(s): Evan Allen | The Boston Globe


Evan Allen has reported and written about crime in Boston for 10 years. During that time, she’s often wondered what the root causes are for the brutality and senseless gang violence that she so routinely covers. Allen wanted to better understand the phenomenon of “dynasty families,” a term used in law enforcement circles to describe families who have multi-generational histories of violence and crime. 

Combining elegant prose with exceptional reporting, Allen tells the poignant story of Anthony Pledger. Through his eyes and life experiences, she challenges preconceptions and conventional wisdom about the causes of generational racism and violence.

In “Under the Wheel,” Allen walks with Pledger and invites readers to share his journey as he searches for answers of his own, asking the questions we all ask ourselves: What makes us who we are? What do we inherit from our upbringing and from our forebears?

Allen’s work on “Under the Wheel” began with a scrupulous search of police and court records, looking for a family to best tell the story. Her search led her to Pledger and his family. A voluminous, three-year correspondence with Pledger, now an inmate in a California federal prison, ensued.

Allen’s work has been widely acclaimed, including from law enforcement officers who say reading Pledger’s story challenged their views on the violence, and societal factors driving it, that they confront every day.

Honoring Ernie Pyle
Black and white photo of a man talking

During World War II, Ernie Pyle worked for Scripps-Howard as a journalist embedded with the troops he chronicled. Readers in America saw the war through Ernie’s eyes as he recounted in detail the dangers the soldiers experienced and the fears they felt while serving on the front line.