america

Ian Bremmer is the president and founder of Eurasia Group, the leading global political risk research and consulting firm.

Those who championed globalization once promised a world of winners, one in which free trade would lift all the world's boats, and extremes of left and right would give way to universally embraced liberal values. The past few years have shattered this fantasy, as those who've paid the price for globalism's gains have turned to populist and nationalist politicians to express fury at the political, media, and corporate elites they blame for their losses.

In his new book, "Us vs. Them: The Failure of Globalism," Bremmer writes that globalism creates plenty of both winners and losers, and those who've missed out want to set things right.

Across the pond, Brits have scoffed that Americans are ruining the English language. Here in the U.S., Americans fawn over British accents and giggle at the preposterous syllables in gobsmacked and kerfuffle.

As an American linguist teaching in England, Professor Lynne Murphy is on the linguistic front line. In her new book, "The Prodigal Tongue: The Love-Hate Relationship Between American and British English," she explores the fiction and reality of the special relationship between British and American English.

For decades now, American voters have been convinced to support public policies that only benefit those in power. But how do the powerful extract consent from citizens whose own self-interest and collective well-being are constantly denied? And why do so many Americans seem to have given up on quality public education, on safe food and safe streets, on living wages - even on democracy itself?

"Kill It to Save It" lays bare the hypocrisy of contemporary US political discourse, documenting the historical and theoretical trajectory of capitalism’s triumph over democracy.

Corey Dolgon is professor of sociology and director of community-based learning at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts.

Gregg Easterbrook is the author of ten books, two of them New York Times Notable Books. He was a national correspondent for the Atlantic, and since then has been a contributing editor. He is a former visiting fellow of the Brookings Institution and a distinguished fellow of the Fulbright Foundation.

Most people who read the news would tell you that 2017 is one of the worst years in recent memory. We're facing a series of deeply troubling, even existential problems: fascism, terrorism, environmental collapse, racial and economic inequality, and more.

Gish Jen has spent much of her literary career writing about the experiences of Chinese-Americans. Her latest book, “The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap,” makes the case for the sociological and cultural patterns that influence many aspects of identity.

From the beet fields of North Dakota to the National Forest campgrounds of California to Amazon’s CamperForce program in Texas, employers have discovered a new, low-cost labor pool, made up largely of transient older Americans. Finding that social security comes up short, often underwater on mortgages, these invisible casualties of the Great Recession have taken to the road by the tens of thousands in late-model RVs, travel trailers, and vans, forming a growing community of nomads: migrant laborers who call themselves “workampers.”

On frequently traveled routes between seasonal jobs, Jessica Bruder meets people from all walks of life: a former professor, a McDonald’s vice president, a minister, a college administrator, and a motorcycle cop, among many others―including her irrepressible protagonist, a onetime cocktail waitress, Home Depot clerk, and general contractor named Linda May.

Jessica Bruder is a journalist who reports on subcultures and economic justice. Her newest book is Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Gish Jen is a beloved and prize-winning chronicler of the Chinese-American experience in fiction. Her new work, "The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap," explores stark differences between Eastern and Western ideas of the "self."

She will be in Albany, NY for two events sponsored by The New York State Writers Institute on Tuesday, January 30.

David Brooks
CNN

David Brooks has a gift for bringing audiences face-to-face with the spirit of our times with humor, insight and passion. He is an observer of the American way of life and a savvy analyst of present-day politics and foreign affairs.

He holds several positions as a commentator, including bi-weekly Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times, and regular analyst on PBS "NewsHour" and NPR’s "All Things Considered."

David’s newest book, "The Road to Character," explains why selflessness leads to greater success. He tells the story of ten great lives that illustrate how character is developed, and how we can all strive to build rich inner lives, marked by humility and moral depth.

David Brooks will be at Proctors on Wednesday, January 17th at 7:30 p.m.

  When Sara Zaske moved from Oregon to Berlin with her husband and toddler, she knew the transition would be challenging, especially when she became pregnant with her second child. She was surprised to discover that German parents give their children a great deal of freedom - much more than Americans. German parents did not share her fears, and their children were thriving. Was she doing the opposite of what she intended, which was to raise capable children? Why was parenting culture so different in the States?

In her book, "Achtung Baby," Zaske shares the many unexpected parenting lessons she learned from living in Germany.

In his new book, Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History, NYT bestselling author and co-creator of the Peabody-Award winning public radio show Studio 360, Kurt Andersen, provides a new and comprehensive understanding of our post-truth world and the American instinct in make- believe.

This interview was recorded at UAlbany as part of the New York State Writers Institute symposium: Telling the Truth in a Post-Truth World.

Dubbed by the New Yorker as "one of America's very best singer-songwriters," Dar Williams has made her career not in stadiums, but touring America's small towns. She has played their venues, composed in their coffee shops, and drunk in their bars. She has seen these communities struggle, but also seen them thrive in the face of postindustrial identity crises.

In her book, What I Found in a Thousand Towns: A Traveling Musician's Guide to Rebuilding America's Communities—One Coffee Shop, Dog Run, and Open-Mike Night at a Time, Williams muses on why some towns flourish while others fail, examining elements from the significance of history and nature to the uniting power of public spaces and food. Drawing on her own travels and the work of urban theorists, Williams offers real solutions to rebuild declining communities.

Gabriel Kahane's Instagram feed


  Gabriel Kahane’s 8980: Book of Travelers is a new collection of songs inspired by the two-week train trip he took across the United States last November. He left on his un-plugged  journey the day after the 2016 election to meet and converse with dozens of strangers.

Created in collaboration with director Daniel Fish and designer Jim Findlay, 8980: Book of Travelers is a song cycle and solo stage show that will officially premiere at The Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival later this fall. Tonight, In a kind of sneak-peek, Kahane will take the stage in The Hunter Center at MASS MoCA - where he’s been working on the piece in residency for about two weeks.

Corey Dolgon is professor of sociology and director of community-based learning at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts. He is the author of three other books, including the award-winning The End of the Hamptons: Scenes from the Class Struggle in America’s Paradise.

His new book, Kill It to Save It, lays bare the hypocrisy of contemporary US political discourse, documenting the historical and theoretical trajectory of capitalism’s triumph over democracy.

Mark Sundeen is the author of several books, including The Man Who Quit Money and the coauthor of North by Northwestern, which was a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller.

His latest, The Unsettlers: In Search of the Good Life in Today's America, is a work of immersive journalism that traces the search for the simple life through the stories of these new pioneers and what inspired each of them to look for - or create - a better existence.

Why did Donald Trump follow Barack Obama into the White House? Why is America so polarized? And how does American exceptionalism explain these social changes?

In Exceptional America: What Divides Americans from the World and from Each Other, Mugambi Jouet describes why Americans are far more divided than other Westerners over basic issues, including wealth inequality, health care, climate change, evolution, gender roles, abortion, gay rights, sex, gun control, mass incarceration, the death penalty, torture, human rights, and war. Raised in Paris by a French mother and Kenyan father, Jouet then lived in the Bible Belt, Manhattan, and beyond.

While exceptionalism once was a source of strength, it may now spell decline, as unique features of U.S. history, politics, law, culture, religion, and race relations foster grave conflicts. Exceptional America dissects the American soul, in all of its peculiar, clashing, and striking manifestations.

Nancy Isenberg’s bestselling book: White Trash: The 400 Year Untold History of Class in America is now in paperback with a new preface covering the 2016 election.

Nancy Isenberg said the following about the political climate years ago surrounding Sarah Palin, “When you turn an election into a three-ring circus, there’s always a chance that the dancing bear will win.” And we recognize how right she is today. Yet the voters that put Trump in the White House have always been a permanent part of our American fabric, argues Isenberg.

In White Trash, Isenberg looks to obliterate the myth of America as a land of unbounded opportunity and social mobility and makes the case that while both class and identity politics matter, neither are sufficient alone to define categories of voting behavior. Again the name of the book is: White Trash: The 400 Year Untold History of Class in America. 

Over the course of his distinguished career, Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough has spoken before Congress, the White House, historical societies, and other esteemed institutions -- including Union College in Schenectady.

Now, at a time of self-reflection in America following a bitter election campaign that has left the country divided, McCullough has collected some of his most important speeches in a brief volume designed to identify important principles and characteristics that are particularly American.

The book is entitled The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For

In The President Will See You Now, devoted Reagan insider Peggy Grande shares behind-the-scenes stories, intimate moments, and insights into one of America's most beloved presidents.

Grande, who started in the Office of Ronald Reagan as a college student and earned her way into a coveted role as the president's Executive Assistant, offers an unparalleled perspective on the post-presidency of a political icon. 

In his new book, A Generation of Sociopaths, author Bruce Cannon Gibney looks to show how America was hijacked by Baby Boomers, a generation, he believes, whose reckless self-indulgence degraded the foundations of American prosperity. A former partner in a leading venture capital firm, Gibney examines the policies of the most powerful generation in modern history, saying Boomers enriched themselves at the expense of future generations.

Gibney says acting without empathy, prudence, or respect for facts--acting, in other words, as sociopaths--the Boomers turned American dynamism into stagnation, inequality, and bipartisan fiasco. Gibney argues that younger generations have a window to hold the Boomers accountable and begin restoring America.

Bruce Gibney is a writer and venture capitalist, working at a hedge fund and as a partner at one of Silicon Valley’s leading venture firms, Founders Fund. 

The election of Donald Trump rocked an already divided America and left scores of citizens, including the nearly sixty-five million voters who supported Hillary Clinton, feeling bereft and powerless.

Now, Gene Stone, author of The Bush Survival Bible, offers guidance and solutions they can use to make a difference in this serious call-to-arms—showing them how to move from anger and despair to activism as the Trump inauguration approaches. His new book is The Trump Survival Guide.

Stone outlines political and social concepts—including such issues as Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, the Environment, Obamacare, International relations, and LGBTQ Rights—providing a brief history of each, a refresher on Obama's policies, and an analysis of what Trump’s administration might do. 

“Speak softly and carry a big stick” Theodore Roosevelt famously said in 1901, when the United States was emerging as a great power. It was the right sentiment, perhaps, in an age of imperial rivalry but today many Americans doubt the utility of their global military presence, thinking it outdated, unnecessary or even dangerous.

In The Big Stick, Eliot A. Cohen—a scholar and practitioner of international relations—disagrees. He argues that hard power remains essential for American foreign policy.

Even as US spending on healthcare skyrockets, impoverished Americans continue to fall ill and die of preventable conditions. Although the majority of health outcomes are shaped by non-medical factors, public and private healthcare reform efforts have largely ignored the complex local circumstances that make it difficult for struggling men, women, and children to live healthier lives.

In Dying and Living in the Neighborhood, Dr. Prabhjot Singh argues that we must look beyond the walls of the hospital and into the neighborhoods where patients live and die to address the troubling rise in chronic disease.

Did you know that many of America’s Founding Fathers― who fought for liberty and justice for all ― were slave owners?

Through the powerful stories of five enslaved people who were “owned” by four of our greatest presidents, Kenneth Davis’ new book, In the Shadow of Liberty, helps set the record straight about the role slavery played in the founding of America.

From Billy Lee, valet to George Washington, to Alfred Jackson, faithful servant of Andrew Jackson, these dramatic narratives explore our country’s great tragedy―that a nation “conceived in liberty” was also born in shackles.

Kenneth C. Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of America’s Hidden History and Don’t Know Much About History, which gave rise to the "Don’t Know Much About" series of books for adults and children. 

  From renowned social critic, energy expert, and bestselling author James Howard Kunstler,The Harrows of Spring is a moving and gripping novel that completes the story of the quaint upstate New York town of Union Grove, thrown into a future world that in many ways resembles the nineteenth century.

In Union Grove, early spring is a challenging season, known as the “six weeks want,” a time when fresh food is scarce and the winter stores are dwindling. The town is struggling in particular this year as the Hudson River trade route to Albany has been halted by the local plantation tycoon Stephen Bullock, who has deemed it too resource-intensive and is now striving for self-sufficiency.

  Stephanie Blythe is on the vocal faculty for the Tanglewood Music Center, and has been coaching vocal Fellows for the “Sing America: Songs of Travel” vocal concert at 5 p.m. during Tanglewood on Parade.

The program features the TMC Vocal Fellows and Stephanie singing mostly classic American travel songs from the largely from the late 1800’s and early 1900s, including “Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis,” “California, Here I Come,” “Caroline in the Morning,” “Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland,” and “I Want to Go Back to Michigan.” The audience will also be encouranged to sing along during a portion of the program.

Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe is considered to be one of the most highly respected and critically acclaimed artists of her generation.

  In his new book, The End of White Christian America, Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, challenges us to grasp the profound political and cultural consequences of a new reality—that America is no longer a majority white Christian nation.

For most of our nation’s history, White Christian America (WCA)—the cultural and political edifice built primarily by white Protestant Christians—set the tone for our national policy and shaped American ideals. But especially since the 1990s, WCA has steadily lost influence, following declines within both its mainline and evangelical branches. Today, America is no longer demographically or culturally a majority white Christian nation.

  Juan Williams is a top political analyst for Fox News Channel and will be with us this morning to discuss his new book, We the People: The Modern-Day Figures Who Have Reshaped and Affirmed the Founding Fathers' Vision of America.

In the book, Williams tells us who would be on his modern day Mount Rushmore.

  In Winner-Take-All Politics, Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson explained how political elites have enabled and propelled plutocracy.

Now in American Amnesia, they trace the economic and political history of the United States over the last century and show how a viable mixed economy has long been the dominant engine of America’s prosperity.

  In our Ideas Matter segment we take time just about every week to check in with the state humanities councils in our 7-state region.

Today we're discussing the long and colorful history of American crime writing. Our guest is Harold Schecter, professor of English at Queens College, CUNY, and the editor of the Library of America's True Crime volume. A writer of true crime fiction himself, Harold recently served as the scholar-advisor for the New York Council's new Reading and Discussion series "True Crime an American Genre."

  Most of us have to “talk across the aisle” once or twice a year—when we’re seated next to our conservative out-of-town uncle at Thanksgiving, say. But millions of self- identified liberals live in cities and towns—particularly away from the East and West Coasts—where they are regularly outnumbered and outvoted by conservatives.

Justin Krebs is a political and cultural entrepreneur, strategist and writer. He is the founding director of Living Liberally, a national progressive social organization with over 200 chapters. The organization is primarily composed of Drinking Liberally happy hours, which give liberals around the country the opportunity to get offline and form face-to-face friendships.

Krebs' new book is Blue in a Red State: The Survival Guide to Life in the Real America.

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