Caroline Fraser’s most recent book, Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder, received the Pulitzer Prize for biography. Her first book, God’s Perfect Child: Living and Dying in the Christian Science Church, was reissued last fall. (May 2020)
No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us
by Rachel Louise Snyder
As countries around the world have tracked Covid-19, they’ve seen a sharp spike in another scourge, one of far longer duration and with no known cure: domestic violence. But as Rachel Louise Snyder reveals in her invaluable, deeply reported book No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us, the prevalence of domestic violence is nothing new. Household barbarity is not only a “global health problem of epidemic proportions,” according to the World Health Organization, it is also the bare twisted root from which other violence in American society stems, from school shootings to mass murder.
Since Elizabeth Warren’s formal announcement of her candidacy on February 19, 2019, the narrative about her has had little to do with her actual qualifications. From initially low poll numbers, she rode a brief upswing in October to the top of some national polls, immediately drawing a backlash, in part over concerns that her Medicare for All plan was too far to the left. After the debate on January 14, 2020, when Bernie Sanders denied having told her, at a private meeting in 2018, that he did not believe a woman could be elected, it was clear that the issue of “electability” swamped all else. To anybody paying attention, however, that issue has been central since the beginning.
Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future
by Pete Buttigieg
Pete Buttigieg’s campaign memoir, Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future, introduces the candidate by heavily emphasizing his hometown ties. In it, he seems bent on leveraging his midwestern values, giving the strong sense of being almost radically wholesome. He does this by presenting, in an astounding act of compression, a life packed like a Marie Kondo underwear drawer full of neatly folded accomplishments, all achieved with apparent effortlessness.
Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth
by Sarah Smarsh
Of herself, Sarah Smarsh writes, “I was the proverbial teen pregnancy, my very existence the mark of poverty. I was in a poor girl’s lining like a penny in a purse—not worth much, according to the economy, but kept in production.”
“What are Americans like today?” John Steinbeck set out to answer that question in Travels with Charley, his 1962 travelogue, but it had been a theme of his fiction, as it had been a theme of many works by American writers loosely labeled naturalists. It was not a query of …
“The novel became my game,” writes Maureen Howard in an essay in The New York Times. “We are in this game together,” she goes on, defining “reading, real reading” as a “strenuous and pleasurable contact sport.” The theme of reading and writing as a game is pervasive in her work, …
Joyce Carol Oates, author of some forty novels (nine written under an assumed name), twenty short story collections, six novellas, eight volumes of poetry, seven of plays, and nine of essays, may be our most prolific contemporary writer. She may also be our most critically confounding. Hosts of reviewers have …