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Jaki Shelton Green Blends Poetry and Protest on Timely 'The River Speaks of Thirst'

Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green's The River Speaks of Thirst is at once a political statement, cultural commentary, and an aesthetic milestone, a skillful commingling of galvanic activism and evocative poetry.

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Without a Net's Memoirs of Poverty in America Will Haunt You. Let It.

These women are not simply simulating scenes of poverty for the reader; they experienced it and now they own it as one constant facet of their diverse identities.

Books

The Story of a Nation Built on Murder, Theft, and Cruelty

The specter of slavery draws unavoidable correlations to contemporary American society in Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad.

Books

A Road Warrior Shares Lessons on Community with 'What I Found in a Thousand Towns'

Musician Dar Williams lets it all hang out with piercing opinions and shrewd take-aways.

Books

'Nomadland' Defines a New Kind of Migrant Worker in America: The Elderly

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.

Angela Hsu
Books

'Far Away Brothers': What Becomes of the Children Who Must Flee Home and Country?

Lauren Markham's The Far Away Brothers puts forth the story of two young lives caught up in the pressing need to immigrate.

Music

All Hail the King: Chuck Berry Reinvented Music, and America

After Chuck Berry, rock music would forever be a gumbo of competing and complimentary source points, but his first-person flights of fancy still represent its most undiluted potential.

Books

Could It Happen in America? The Rise and Fall of Fritz Kuhn’s German-American Bund

Could America have become a Swastika nation in the '30s? Arnie Bernstein assembles a riveting in-depth portrayal of the rise and fall of Fritz Kuhn's German-American Bund.

Reviews

Too Much Is Never Enough in 'Pain & Gain'

Michael Bay’s frenzied, kaleidoscopic, dumb-ass magnum opus arrives on Blu-ray just in time to flex menacingly at The Great Gatsby from across the DVD aisle. The American dream lives on.

Reviews

'Middle C' A Minor Story in a Major Key

In William H. Gass’s latest novel, a man who fears being remembered as a Nazi raises a son who fears living at all.

Reviews

‘The Story of America’: The United States of Amnesia

Jill Lepore’s richly evocative and argumentative essays on America uncover the forgotten realities of history, from Ben Franklin’s rough satires taken straight to Election Day gangfights, without an ideological agenda; the story is all.

Reviews

'Produced By George Martin' Is a Perfect Documentary

Suave, smart, sophisticated, and beyond musical, George Martin is a true treasure, as is this documentary, which examines his long and glorious career.

Books

America's Funny Book Filter: 'Comic Books and American Cultural History: An Anthology'

The comics medium has long been as broad as fiction, a mode of expression which reflects the deepest parts of an artist’s self to a corporation cashing in on a trend.

Music

M. Ward: A Wasteland Companion

Three years since his last solo album, the prolific, melodic M. Ward goes out on his own again (with only some minor supporting appearances from Zooey Deschanel).

Books

'Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America' Is, Sadly, Still Relevant

Will the current economic hardships America is facing finally break society's cycle of poverty and punishment?

Reviews

'Super Sad True Love Story', Or, The Unbearable Lightness of Being Lenny Abramov

This story depicts a world that is completely absurd and out of control, which brings a lot of dark humor into it. Yet its truly scary -- you have to wonder if this is the slippery slope the real world is headed down.

Books

Bright-Sided by Barbara Ehrenreich

In attacking America's "cult of cheerfulness", Ehrenreich makes a good argument, but doesn't take it far enough.

Books

Girl Trouble by Holly Goddard Jones

If this came with a CD, I know what would be on it – Neko Case, The Drive-By Truckers, Gillian Welch, Kings of Leon, The Band and Mason Jennings. Like these artists, Jones makes America come alive.

Books

Chicago: A Biography by Dominic Pacyga

The story of Chicago is an epic one, full of many acts of ingenuity, wonder, greed, and tragedy; all the best and worst characteristics of humanity on a grand scale.

Music

"Zoom, I wish the world were truly happy": Barack and the blues

In Grant park on the night of America’s victory in November 2008, Barack opened with: "It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment, change has come to America." It is my sincere hope that readers don’t miss that. Barack has a deep and personal understanding of this unique and complex American history. A cool, smooth, blues man has come to lead the nation.

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