Tag Archives: American Experience

Give Us the Ballot

The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America

Ari Berman

Give Us the Ballot

Picador
Paperback
384 pages • $18.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-09472-8

A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist, Nonfiction
A New York Times Notable Book of 2015
A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of 2015
A Boston Globe Best Book of 2015
An NPR Best Book of 2015

Ari Berman charts both the transformation of American democracy under the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and the counterrevolution that has sought to limit it from the moment the act was signed into law. The VRA is widely regarded as the crowning achievement of the civil rights movement, and yet—more than fifty years later—the battles over race, representation, and political power continue, as lawmakers devise new strategies to keep minorities out of the voting booth, while the Supreme Court has declared a key part of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. Through meticulous research, in-depth interviews, and incisive on-the-ground reporting, Give Us the Ballot offers the first comprehensive history of its kind, and provides new insight into one of the most vital political and civil rights issues of our time.

Ari Berman.jpg

(c) Ports Bishop

Ari Berman is a political correspondent for The Nation and an investigative journalism Fellow at the Nation Institute. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times and Rolling Stone, and he is a frequent commentator on MSNBC and NPR. His first book, Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics, was published in 2010. He lives in New York City.

Humans of New York: Stories

Humans of New York: Stories

St. Martin’s Press
Hardcover
432 pages • $29.99
ISBN: 978-1-250-05890-4

Brandon Stanton

Humans of New York: Stories is the perfect book for a digital age . . . Through each photo and quote, Brandon Stanton has captured the highs, lows, and in-betweens that comprise what it’s like to be a human in New York, which is to say, what it’s like to be a human, period.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 

In the summer of 2010, photographer Brandon Stanton set out to create a photographic census of New York City. Armed with his camera, he began crisscrossing the city, covering thousands of miles on foot, all in an attempt to capture New Yorkers and their stories. The result of these efforts was a vibrant blog he called “Humans of New York,” in which his photos were featured alongside quotes and anecdotes. The blog has steadily grown, now boasting millions of devoted followers; and in the summer of 2014, the UN chose Brandon to travel around the world on a goodwill mission that had followers meeting people from Iraq to the Ukraine to Mexico City via the photos he took. Ever since Brandon began interviewing people on the streets of New York, the dialogue he’s had with them has increasingly become as in-depth and moving as the photo themselves. Humans of New York: Stories presents a whole new group of humans, complete with stories that delve deeper and surprise with greater candor.

Stanton, BrandonBrandon Stanton is the creator of the #1 New York Times bestselling book Humans of New York as well as the children’s book, Little Humans. His photography and storytelling blog, also called Humans of New York is followed by over fifteen million people on several social media platforms. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia and lives in New York City.

Humans of New York: Stories has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

St. John’s University (NY); Texas Tech University Honors College (TX)

Walking to Listen

Walking to Listen

Bloomsbury
Hardcover
400 pages • $28.00
ISBN: 978-1-632-86700-1

4,000 Miles Across America, One Story at a Time

Andrew Forsthoefel

A memoir of one young man’s coming of age on a cross-country trek—told through the stories of the people of all ages, races, and inclinations he meets along the highways of America.

At twenty-three, Andrew Forsthoefel walked out the back door of his home in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, with a backpack, an audio recorder, his copies of Whitman and Rilke, and a sign that read “Walking to Listen.” He had just graduated from Middlebury College and was ready to being his adult life, but he didn’t know how. So he decided he’d walk. And listen. It would be a cross-country quest for guidance, and everyone he met would be his guide. Thousands shared their stories with him, sometimes confiding their prejudices, too. Often he didn’t know how to respond. How to find unity in diversity? How to stay connected, even as fear works to tear us apart? He listened for answers to these questions, and to the existential questions every human must face, and began to find that the answer might be in listening itself. Ultimately, it’s the stories of others living all along the roads of America that carry this journey and sing out in a hopeful, heartfelt book about how a life is made, and how our nation defines itself on the most human level.

Forsthoefel, Andrew, (c) Luke Forsthoefel.jpg

© Luke Forsthoefel

Andrew Forsthoefel is a writer, radio producer, and public speaker. After graduating from Middlebury College in 2011, he spent nearly a year walking across the United States. He first recounted part of that journey in a radio story featured on This American Life. He now facilitates workshops on walking and listening as practices in personal transformation, interconnection, and conflict resolution, and is currently based in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Walking to Listen has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Lipscomb University (TN)

We Gon’ Be Alright

We Gon' Be Alright

Picador
Paperback
208 pages • $16.00
ISBN: 978-0-312-42948-5

Notes on Race and Resegregation

Jeff Chang

“If future generations ever need an account of America’s current, tumultuous moment, Chang’s book is a good place to start.”—Philip Eil, Salon

In these provocative, powerful essays, acclaimed writer/journalist Jeff Chang takes an incisive and wide-ranging look at the recent tragedies and widespread protests that have shaken the country. Through deep reporting with key activists and thinkers, passionately personal writing, and distinguished cultural criticism, We Gon’ Be Alright links #BlackLivesMatter to #OscarsSoWhite, Ferguson to Washington D.C., the Great Migration to resurgent nativism. Chang explores the rise and fall of the idea of “diversity,” the roots of student protest, changing ideas about Asian Americanness, and the impact of a century of racial separation in housing. He argues that resegregation is the unexamined condition of our time, the undoing of which is key to moving the nation forward to racial justice and cultural equity.

© Jeremy Keith Villaluz

Jeff Chang is also the author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop and Who We Be. He has been a USA Ford Fellow in Literature and the winner of the American Book Award and the Asian American Literary Award. He is the executive director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University.

We Gon’ Be Alright has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

American University (DC); Rhode Island School of Design

The Book of Isaias

The Book of Isaias

St. Martin’s Press
Hardcover
272 pages • $26.99
ISBN: 978-1-250-08306-7

A Child of Hispanic Immigrants Seeks His Own America

Daniel Connolly

“The Book of Isaias is a compassionate and well-told tale from Tennessee. Daniel Connolly has placed his reporting muscles at the service of a hard-working Mexican family and their smart son, and borne witness to their noble struggles.”—Héctor Tobar, author of Deep Down Dark

In a green town in the middle of America, a bright 18-year-old Hispanic student named Isaias Ramos sets out on the journey to college. Isaias is the hope of Kingsbury High in Memphis, a school where many students have difficulty reading. But Kingsbury’s dysfunction, expensive college fees, and forms printed in a language that’s foreign to his parents are all obstacles in the way of getting him to a university. Isaias also doubts the value of college and says he might go to work in his family’s painting business after high school, despite his academic potential. Is Isaias making a rational choice? Or does he simply hope to avoid pain by deferring dreams that may not come to fruition? This is what journalist Daniel Connolly attempts to uncover in The Book of Isaias as he follows Isaias, peers into a tumultuous final year of high school, and, eventually, shows how adults intervene in the hopes of changing Isaias’s life. Every day, children of immigrants make decisions about their lives that will shape our society and economy for generations. This engaging, poignant book captures an American microcosm and illustrates broader challenges for our collective future.

© Jacobo Parra

Daniel Connolly has reported on Mexican immigration to the U.S. South for several news organizations, including the Associated Press and The Commercial Appeal (Memphis). The winner of numerous journalism prizes, he has received grants and fellowships from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the International Center for Journalists, and the Fulbright program. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

Born Bright

Born Bright

St. Martin’s Press
Hardcover
256 pages • $26.99
ISBN: 978-1-250-06992-4

A Young Girl’s Journey from Nothing to Something in America

C. Nicole Mason

“I’m glad that Mason wrote this urgent memoir, showing not only what poverty looks like but what it feels like as well . . . You will be far better off after having read Born Bright, not just because it’s a powerful story, but also because it’s one so seldom heard.”—Essence 

Born in the 1970s in Los Angeles, California, C. Nicole Mason was raised by a beautiful, but volatile 16-year-old single mother. Early on, she learned to navigate between an unpredictable home life and school where she excelled. By high school, Mason was seamlessly straddling two worlds. The first, a cocoon of familiarity where street smarts, toughness and the ability to survive won the day. The other, foreign and unfamiliar with its own set of rules, not designed for her success. After moving to Las Vegas to live with her paternal grandmother, she worked nights at a food court in one of the Mega Casinos while finishing school. Having figured out the college application process by eavesdropping on the few white students in her predominantly Black and Latino school along with the help of a long ago high school counselor, Mason eventually boarded a plane for Howard University, alone and with $200 in her pocket. While showing us her own path out of poverty, Mason examines the conditions that make it nearly impossible to escape and exposes the presumption harbored by many—that the poor don’t help themselves enough.

© Dewayne Rogers Photography

C. Nicole Mason is the Executive Director of the Center for Research and Policy in the Public Interest (CR2PI) and she has taught at Spelman College and New York University. Her writing and commentary has appeared in major newspapers and outlets across the country, including MSNBC, CNN, The Nation, The Miami Herald, and numerous NPR affiliates, among others.

Continue reading

Make Your Home Among Strangers

Make Your Home Among Strangers

Picador
Paperback
416 pages • $16.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-09455-1

A Novel

Jennine Capó Crucet

“Crucet’s smart, scathing, and hilarious depiction of a Cuban-American girl at a fancy northeastern university is set in 1999—and involves and Elián González-inspired subplot—but its incisive take on race and class makes it both urgently of-the-moment and destined to be a classic.”—Vanity Fair

When Lizet—the daughter of Cuban immigrants and the first in her family to graduate from high school—secretly applies and is accepted to an ultra-elite college, her parents are furious at her decision to leave Miami. Just weeks before she’s set to start school, her parents divorce and her father sells her childhood home, leaving Lizet, her mother, and Leidy—Lizet’s older sister, a brand-new single mom—without a steady income and scrambling for a place to live. Amidst this turmoil, Lizet begins her first semester at Rawlings College, distracted by both the exciting and difficult moments of freshman year. But the privileged world of the campus feels utterly foreign, as does her new awareness of herself as a minority. Struggling both socially and academically, she returns to Miami for a surprise Thanksgiving visit, only to be overshadowed by the arrival of Ariel Hernandez, a young boy whose mother died fleeing with him from Cuba on a raft. The ensuing immigration battle puts Miami in a glaring spotlight, captivating the nation and entangling Lizet’s entire family, especially her mother. Pulled between life at college and the needs of those she loves, Lizet is faced with difficult decisions that will change her life forever. Urgent and mordantly funny, Make Your Home Among Strangers tells the moving story of a young woman torn between generational, cultural, and political forces; it’s the new story of what it means to be American today.

(c) Monica McGivern

Jennine Capó Crucet is the author of the story collection How to Leave Hialeah, winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Award, John Gardner Book Prize, and Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award. She was raised in Miami and is currently assistant professor of English and Ethnic Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Make Your Home Among Strangers has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Albion College (MI); California State University Channel Islands; Elon University (NC); College of the Holy Cross (MA); George Mason University (VA); Hollins University (VA); Holy Names University (CA); Knox College (IL); New College of Florida; Northern Illinois University; University of Massachusetts, Amherst; University of North Carolina, Asheville; Ventura College (CA); Whitman College (WA)