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Tag: America

Review: Kiese Laymon’s “Heavy”

The best thing any story can do is bring people closer together. Sometimes people derive common cause from a story. Sometimes lovers find each other in the dark because the story turns the lights out. Sometimes enemies discover in the story one another’s mortal weakness. Sometimes the reader and author, separate in every way the [...]

Review: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation”

In the fetid wake of Donald Trump’s election two years ago, I found myself awash in unwelcome questions: How could someone so obviously unfit for office be elected President of the United States? Why had so many of my fellow voters failed to recoil at the blatant petulance and dishonesty that saturated his political persona? [...]

Review: Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt’s “The Coddling of the American Mind”

The Coddling of the American Mind is a book that every American should read. While this was my first encounter with author Greg Lukianoff, I’ve long respected and followed the work of his coauthor, Jonathan Haidt. In the early 2010s, Haidt’s The Righteous Mind was one of my gateway texts into the field of moral psychology, which has captivated [...]

Review: Richard Wright’s “Black Boy”

Recently, the desire arose in me to read something that might help me better understand the internal perspectives of African-Americans and my country’s ignominious legacy of slavery. My mother, who spent a long career teaching American history to undergraduates, recommended Richard Wright’s autobiography, Black Boy. And although I expected the book to be good, I didn’t anticipate [...]

Review: J.D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy”

Reading J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy officially puts me on the bandwagon of liberal Americans who are trying to figure out what the hell is going on in our country. And while I don’t think it’s fair for a confounded public to turn to a single figure to explain the motives of rural Trumpites, historical circumstances seem to [...]

Review: John Crews’s “Robonomics”

In the last decade, the twin topics of technological unemployment and the automation revolution have found their way out of esoteric discussions between specialists and into the public consciousness. Plenty of good books are coming out every year to help us analyze these issues and gauge the degree of impact and pace at which they [...]

Review: Eliot Peper’s “Cumulus”

For fans of speculative fiction, the early 21st century has been both a triumph and a challenge: a triumph because our beloved genre has gained popularity and respect, and a challenge because sorting through the ever-increasing surfeit of new works can be paralyzing. It helps immensely when an enterprising author takes the time to identify [...]

Review: Dave Eggers’s “Zeitoun”

From the works of John Steinbeck to David Simon and George Packer, narrative nonfiction has played a significant role in shaping my ideas about America. Now I can add Dave Eggers to that list. I’d never heard of Zeitoun until a friend recommended it, but her description of a man undertaking a quixotic canoe journey in [...]

Quote 5-9-2016

“How could be have been guilty of such hubris? He had put himself in harm’s way, and by doing so had put his family in danger. How could he not have known that staying in New Orleans, a city under something like martial law, would endanger him? He knew better. He had been careful for [...]

Quotes 4-27-2016

“During my student days, behaviorism still ruled supreme, at least in psychology. Luckily for me, the professor’s pipe-smoking associate, Paul Timmermans, regularly took me aside to induce some much-needed reflection on the indoctrination I was being subjected to. We worked with two young chimpanzees who offered me my first contact with primates apart from my [...]