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Wednesday, October 17 • 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Ben Fountain & Adam Hochschild - Beautiful Country Burn Again / Lessons from a Dark Time and Other Essays

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Twice before in its history, the United States has been faced with a crisis so severe it was forced to reinvent itself in order to survive: first, the struggle over slavery, culminating in the Civil War, and the second, the Great Depression, which led to President Roosevelt’s New Deal and the establishment of America as a social-democratic state. In a sequence of essays that excavate the past while laying bare the political upheaval of 2016, Ben Fountain argues that the United States may be facing a third existential crisis, one that will require a “burning” of the old order as America attempts to remake itself.

Beautiful Country Burn Again narrates a shocking year in American politics, moving from the early days of the Iowa Caucus to the crystalizing moments of the Democratic and Republican national conventions, and culminating in the aftershocks of the weeks following election night. Along the way, Fountain probes deeply into history, illuminating the forces and watershed moments of the past that mirror and precipitated the present, from the hollowed-out notion of the American Dream, to Richard Nixon’s southern strategy, to our weaponized new conception of American exceptionalism, to the cult of celebrity that gave rise to Donald Trump.

In an urgent and deeply incisive voice, Ben Fountain has fused history and the present day to paint a startling portrait of the state of our nation.  Beautiful Country Burn Again is a searing indictment of how we came to this point, and where we may be headed.

In Lessons from a Dark Time and Other Essays, bestselling author Adam Hochschild has selected and updated over two dozen essays and pieces of reporting from his long career. Threaded through them all is his concern for social justice and the people who have fought for it. The articles here range from a California gun show to a Finnish prison, from a Congolese center for rape victims to the ruins of gulag camps in the Soviet Arctic, from a stroll through construction sites with an ecologically pioneering architect in India to a day on the campaign trail with Nelson Mandela. Hochschild also talks about the writers he loves, from Mark Twain to John McPhee, and explores such far-reaching topics as why so much history is badly written, what bookshelves tell us about their owners, and his front-row seat for the shocking revelation in the 1960s that the CIA had been secretly controlling dozens of supposedly independent organizations.
 
With the skills of a journalist, the knowledge of a historian, and the heart of an activist, Hochschild shares the stories of people who took a stand against despotism, spoke out against unjust wars and government surveillance, and dared to dream of a better and more just world.

Authors and Participants
avatar for Ben Fountain

Ben Fountain

Ben Fountain was born in Chapel Hill and grew up in the tobacco country of eastern North Carolina. A former practicing attorney, he is the author of Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Barnes & Noble Discover Award for Fiction, and the novel Billy... Read More →
avatar for Adam Hochschild

Adam Hochschild

Adam Hochschild is a journalist and author who has written on issues of human rights and social justice. His books include the bestselling King Leopold’s Ghost. He has been a finalist twice for the National Book Critics Circle Award and once for the National Book Award. He has been... Read More →


Wednesday October 17, 2018 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Book Passage Corte Madera 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera, CA

Attendees (11)