Synopses & Reviews
is Pulitzer Prize-winning author Maharidge's biggest and most ambitious book yet, weaving together the disparate and contradictory strands of contemporary American society-common decency alongside race rage, the range of dissenting voices, and the roots of discontent that defy political affiliation. Here are American families who can no longer pay their medical bills, who've lost high-wage-earning jobs to NAFTA. And here are white supremacists who claim common ground with progressives. Maharidge's approach is rigorously historical, creating a tapestry of today as it is lived in America, a self-portrait that is shockingly different from what we're used to seeing and yet which rings of truth.
Dale Maharidge is among the very few American journalists attempting to describe the full range of the American experience. Together with Michael Williamson, who's produced several other important books about the other America, including their first book together, Journey to Nowhere: The Saga of the New Underclass, based on a three-year journey through homeless encampments from coast to coast, and The Last Great American Hobo. Journey to Nowhere inspired Bruce Springsteen to write two of the songs on his album The Ghost of Tom Joad, including "Youngstown," based on a conversation between Maharidge and two former steelworkers, and "New Timer." And Their Children After Them won the Pulitzer Prize in 1990.
"Longtime collaborators Maharidge and Williamson (And Their Children After Them, etc.) return with this provocative montage of photographs and reportage that addresses the state of the American psyche before and after September 11. Williamson's 40 stunning b&w photos and Maharidge's fractured, descriptive reportage both explore an America that is not so much marginalized as it is simply 'invisible' places and people beyond the economic, political and urban foci of mainstream reporting. It is a disturbing portrayal of an anguished and economically depressed America, for which 'what happened on 9/11 was not a genesis, but an amplifier of unease that had long been building.' Some sections focus on victims of post-9/11 intolerance (a young girl suspended from a West Virginia school for wearing antiwar messages on her T-shirts school administrators thought she should see a psychologist, while others address more complex characters who are confused and angered by September 11 (a goth white supremacist in Chicago fights with Arab-Americans at school, calling them 'human bitches'). Maharidge argues that contemporary America dangerously resembles the Weimar Republic, or 'Heimat,' that led to Nazi Germany. Despite his anecdotal evidence, the author's portrait of America as 'consumed by anger and fear' will strike many as questionable at best. Sympathizers will see the argument more as a provocative call for American self-assessment than a rant. While it threatens at times to dissolve into a simple juxtaposition of tolerance versus bigotry, this book emerges as a sensitive, heartfelt examination of a wounded America whose wounds existed long before the terrorist attacks. " Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A]n assemblage of sagas, of dissenters young and old who have said No to the arrogance of the official word. It is a hopeful as well as heartbreaking work." Studs Terkel, author most recently of Hope Dies Last
"[A]n impassioned field report on the conflicts between haves and have-nots, believers and nonbelievers, and, most importantly, those who accept authority and those who question it." David Corn, Washington editor of The Nation and author of The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception
"[A]n indispensable volume for anyone who doubts the extent to which life in America is changing, or is alarmed at the nature of these changes." Nadine Strossen, President, American Civil Liberties Union, and Professor, New York Law School
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Maharidge's most ambitious work yet takes on the disparate and contradictory strands of contemporary American society common decency alongside race rage, the range of dissenting voices, and the roots of discontent that defy political affiliation.
The story of the home front during the "war on terrorism" by a Pulitzer Prize-winning team.
About the Author
Maharidge has been a visiting professor of journalism at Columbia University and Stanford. Maharidge was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1998. He now lives in Northern California.
Michael Williamson is a photographer for the Washington Post with numerous honors including the World Press Photo and Nikon World Understanding Through Photography awards.