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About Kurt Andersen
His novels are True Believers, Heyday, winner of the Langum Prize for Historical Fiction and a New York Times bestseller, and the national bestseller Turn of the Century. He's also the author of Reset: How This Crisis Can Restore Our Values and The Real Thing. In addition, he is host and co-creator of the Peabody Award-winning public radio program and podcast Studio 360.
He also co-founded Spy magazine, among other startups, and served as editor-in-chief of New York. He has been a critic and cultural columnist for The New Yorker and Time. He has also created television shows and pilots, and written screenplays and stage plays. He currently contributes regularly to Vanity Fair, Time, and The New York Times.
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“The one book everyone must read as we figure out how to rebuild our country.”—Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs and Leonardo da Vinci
During the twentieth century, America managed to make its economic and social systems both more and more fair and more and more prosperous. A huge, secure, and contented middle class emerged. All boats rose together. But then the New Deal gave way to the Raw Deal. Beginning in the early 1970s, by means of a long war conceived of and executed by a confederacy of big business CEOs, the superrich, and right-wing zealots, the rules and norms that made the American middle class possible were undermined and dismantled. The clock was turned back on a century of economic progress, making greed good, workers powerless, and the market all-powerful while weaponizing nostalgia, lifting up an oligarchy that served only its own interests, and leaving the huge majority of Americans with dwindling economic prospects and hope.
Why and how did America take such a wrong turn? In this deeply researched and brilliantly woven cultural, economic, and political chronicle, Kurt Andersen offers a fresh, provocative, and eye-opening history of America’s undoing, naming names, showing receipts, and unsparingly assigning blame—to the radical right in economics and the law, the high priests of high finance, a complacent and complicit Establishment, and liberal “useful idiots,” among whom he includes himself.
Only a writer with Andersen’s crackling energy, deep insight, and ability to connect disparate dots and see complex systems with clarity could make such a book both intellectually formidable and vastly entertaining. And only a writer of Andersen’s vision could reckon with our current high-stakes inflection point, and show the way out of this man-made disaster.
How did we get here?
In this sweeping, eloquent history of America, Kurt Andersen shows that what’s happening in our country today—this post-factual, “fake news” moment we’re all living through—is not something new, but rather the ultimate expression of our national character. America was founded by wishful dreamers, magical thinkers, and true believers, by hucksters and their suckers. Fantasy is deeply embedded in our DNA.
Over the course of five centuries—from the Salem witch trials to Scientology to the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, from P. T. Barnum to Hollywood and the anything-goes, wild-and-crazy sixties, from conspiracy theories to our fetish for guns and obsession with extraterrestrials—our love of the fantastic has made America exceptional in a way that we've never fully acknowledged. From the start, our ultra-individualism was attached to epic dreams and epic fantasies—every citizen was free to believe absolutely anything, or to pretend to be absolutely anybody. With the gleeful erudition and tell-it-like-it-is ferocity of a Christopher Hitchens, Andersen explores whether the great American experiment in liberty has gone off the rails.
Fantasyland could not appear at a more perfect moment. If you want to understand Donald Trump and the culture of twenty-first-century America, if you want to know how the lines between reality and illusion have become dangerously blurred, you must read this book.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
“This is a blockbuster of a book. Take a deep breath and dive in.”—Tom Brokaw
“[An] absorbing, must-read polemic . . . a provocative new study of America’s cultural history.”—Newsday
“Compelling and totally unnerving.”—The Village Voice
“A frighteningly convincing and sometimes uproarious picture of a country in steep, perhaps terminal decline that would have the founding fathers weeping into their beards.”—The Guardian
“This is an important book—the indispensable book—for understanding America in the age of Trump.”—Walter Isaacson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Leonardo da Vinci
An astonishing collection of all-new tales by some of the most acclaimed writers at work today. Edited by Neil Gaiman (Sandman, The Graveyard Book, Anansi Boys, Coraline) and award-winning author Al Sarrantonio, Stories presents never before published short works from a veritable Who’s Who of contemporary literature—breathtaking inventions from the likes of Lawrence Block, Roddy Doyle, Joanne Harris, Joe Hill, Walter Mosley, Joyce Carol Oates, Stewart O’Nan, Chuck Palahniuk, Carolyn Parkhurst, Jodi Picoult, Peter Straub…and, of course, the inimitable Neil Gaiman himself.
"The joy of fiction is the joy of the imagination. . . ."
The best stories pull readers in and keep them turning the pages, eager to discover more—to find the answer to the question: "And then what happened?" The true hallmark of great literature is great imagination, and as Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio prove with this outstanding collection, when it comes to great fiction, all genres are equal.
Joe Hill boldly aligns theme and form in his disturbing tale of a man's descent into evil in "Devil on the Staircase." In "Catch and Release," Lawrence Block tells of a seasoned fisherman with a talent for catching a bite of another sort. Carolyn Parkhurst adds a dark twist to sibling rivalry in "Unwell." Joanne Harris weaves a tale of ancient gods in modern New York in "Wildfire in Manhattan." Vengeance is the heart of Richard Adams's "The Knife." Jeffery Deaver introduces a dedicated psychologist whose mission in life is to save people in "The Therapist." A chilling punishment befitting an unspeakable crime is at the dark heart of Neil Gaiman's novelette "The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains."
As it transforms your view of the world, this brilliant and visionary volume—sure to become a classic—will ignite a new appreciation for the limitless realm of exceptional fiction.
In the middle of the nineteenth century, modern life is being born: the mind-boggling marvels of photography, the telegraph, and railroads; a flood of show business spectacles and newspapers; rampant sex and drugs and drink (and moral crusades against all three); Wall Street awash with money; and giddy utopian visions everywhere. Then, during a single amazing month at the beginning of 1848, history lurches: America wins its war of manifest destiny against Mexico, gold is discovered in northern California, and revolutions sweep across Europe–sending one eager English gentleman off on an epic transatlantic adventure. . . .
Amid the tumult, aristocratic Benjamin Knowles impulsively abandons the Old World to reinvent himself in New York, where he finds himself embraced by three restless young Americans: Timothy Skaggs, muckraking journalist, daguerreotypist, pleasure-seeker, stargazer; the fireman Duff Lucking, a sweet but dangerously damaged veteran of the Mexican War; and Duff’s dazzling sister Polly Lucking, a strong-minded, free thinking actress (and discreet part-time prostitute) with whom Ben falls hopelessly in love.
Beckoned by the frontier, new beginnings, and the prospects of the California Gold Rush, all four set out on a transcontinental race west–relentlessly tracked, unbeknownst to them, by a cold-blooded killer bent on revenge.
A fresh, impeccable portrait of an era startlingly reminiscent of our own times, Heyday is by turns tragic and funny and sublime, filled with bona fide heroes and lost souls, visionaries (Walt Whitman, Charles Darwin, Alexis de Tocqueville) and monsters, expanding horizons and narrow escapes. It is also an affecting story of four people passionately chasing their American dreams at a time when America herself was still being dreamed up–an enthralling, old-fashioned yarn interwoven with a bracingly modern novel of ideas.
"In this utterly engaging novel, the author of Turn of the Century brings 19th-century America vividly to life . . . While this is a long book, it moves quickly, with historical detail that's involving but never a drag on the action; the characters are beautifully drawn. A terrific book; highly recommended." –Library Journal
"Heyday is fuled by manic energy, fanatical research, and a wicked sense of humor.... It's a joyful, wild gallop through a joyful, wild time to be an American." -Vanity Fair
The Washington Post • San Francisco Chronicle
In True Believers, Kurt Andersen—the New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed author of Heyday and Turn of the Century—delivers his most powerful and moving novel yet. Dazzling in its wit and effervescent insight, this kaleidoscopic tour de force of cultural observation and seductive storytelling alternates between the present and the 1960s—and indelibly captures the enduring impact of that time on the ways we live now.
Karen Hollander is a celebrated attorney who recently removed herself from consideration for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. Her reasons have their roots in 1968—an episode she’s managed to keep secret for more than forty years. Now, with the imminent publication of her memoir, she’s about to let the world in on that shocking secret—as soon as she can track down the answers to a few crucial last questions.
As junior-high-school kids back in the early sixties, Karen and her two best friends, Chuck and Alex, roamed suburban Chicago on their bikes looking for intrigue and excitement. Inspired by the exotic romance of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, they acted out elaborate spy missions pitting themselves against imaginary Cold War villains. As friendship carries them through childhood and on to college—in a polarized late-sixties America riven by war and race as well as sex, drugs, and rock and roll—the bad guys cease to be the creatures of make-believe. Caught up in the fervor of that extraordinary and uncanny time, they find themselves swept into a dangerous new game with the highest possible stakes.
Today, only a handful of people are left who know what happened. As Karen reconstructs the past and reconciles the girl she was then with the woman she is now, finally sharing pieces of her secret past with her national-security-cowboy boyfriend and activist granddaughter, the power of memory and history and luck become clear. A resonant coming-of-age story and a thrilling political mystery, True Believers is Kurt Andersen’s most ambitious novel to date, introducing a brilliant, funny, and irresistible new heroine to contemporary fiction.
Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.
Praise for True Believers
“Funny, fiendishly smart.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“A great American novel.”—Vanity Fair
“A big, swinging novel . . . [a] colorful story . . . This could be the most rambunctious meeting your book club will have for a long time.”—The Washington Post
“Intelligent and insightful . . . Think The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and Atonement, a ’60s-era female Holden Caulfield. . . . Andersen is an agile storyteller. . . . [There are] witty, occasionally even profound observations about the ’60s and today.”—USA Today
“So epic: Part thriller, part coming-of-age tale, the novel alternates between the present and the 1960s, capturing some of America’s most pivotal moments in history like a time capsule.
"I have the best words, beautiful words, as everybody has been talking and talking about for a long time. Also? The best sentences and, what do you call them, paragraphs. My previous books were great and sold extremely, unbelievably well--even the ones by dishonest, disgusting so-called journalists. But those writers didn't understand Trump, because quite frankly they were major losers. People say if you want it done right you have to do it yourself, even when 'it' is a 'memoir.' So every word of this book was written by me, using a special advanced word processing system during the many, many nights I've been forced to stay alone in the White House--only me, just me, trust me, nobody helped. And it's all 100% true, so true--people are already saying it may be the truest book ever published. Enjoy."
Until Donald Trump publishes the ultimate account of his entire four or eight or one-and-a-half years in the White House, the definitive chronicle will be You Can’t Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year As President. Trump was elected because he was the most frank presidential candidate in history, a man eager to tell the unvarnished truth about others’ flaws and tout his own amazing excellence. Now he levels his refreshingly compulsive, un-PC candor at his landslide election victory as well as his role as commander-in-chief and leader of the free world.
There are intimate, powerful, mind-boggling revelations on every page. You are there with him during his private encounters with world leaders, a few of whom he does not insult. You are there at the genius Oval Office strategy sessions with his advisers. You are there in his White House bedroom as he crafts the pre-dawn Twitter pronouncements that rock the world. And, of course, you are there on the golf course as Trump attempts to manage the burdens of his office.
President Trump explains each of the historic decisions that have already made America great again, and how he always triumphs over the fake news media. You'll learn what he really thinks of his cabinet members and top aides not related to him, of the First Lady and the First Daughter and the additional three or four Trump children. Included at no extra charge is a lavish and exclusive portfolio of spectacular, historic and intimate color photographs of President Trump in private – inside the White House, inside Mar-a-Lago, at Trump Tower, and more.
You Can’t Spell America Without Me is presented by America’s foremost Trump scholar Kurt Andersen as well as America's foremost mediocre Trump impersonator, Alec Baldwin.
You Can't Spell America Without Me is the perfect holiday gift!
As the year 2000 progresses, George Mactier and Lizzie Zimbalist, ten years married, are caught up in the whirl of their centrifugally accelerating lives. George is a TV producer for the upstart network MBC, launching a truly and weirdly groundbreaking new show that blurs the line between fact and fiction. Lizzie is a software entrepreneur dealing with the breakneck pleasures and pains of running her own company in an industry where the rules are rewritten daily. Rocketing between Los An-geles and Seattle, with occasional stopovers at home in Manhattan for tag-team parenting of their three children, George and Lizzie are the kind of businesspeople who, growing up in the sixties and seventies, never dreamed they would end up in business. They're too busy to spend the money that's rolling in, and too smart not to feel ambivalent about their crazed, high-gloss existences, but nothing seems to slow the roller-coaster momentum of their inter-secting lives and careers.
However, after Lizzie, recovering from a Microsoft deal gone awry, becomes a confidante and adviser to George's boss, billionaire media mogul Harold Mose, the couple discovers that no amount of sophisticated spin can obscure basic instincts: envy, greed, suspicion, sexual temptation--and, maybe, love. When they and their children are finally drawn into a thrilling, high-tech corporate hoax that sends Wall Street reeling (and makes one person very, very rich), George and Lizzie can only marvel at life's oversized surprises and hold on for dear life.
Like Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities, Kurt Andersen's Turn of the Century lays bare the follies of our age with laser-beam precision, creating memorable characters and dissecting the ways we think, speak, and navigate this new era of extreme capitalism and mind-boggling technology. Entertaining, imaginative, knowing, and wise, Turn of the Century is a richly plotted comedy of manners about the way we live now.
Historically, America has always shifted between wild, exuberant speculation and steady, sober hard work, as well as back and forth between economic booms and busts, and between right and left politically. This is one of the rare moments when all these cycles shift dramatically and simultaneously–a moment when complacency ends, ossified structures loosen up, and enormous positive change is possible.
The shock to the system can enable each of us to rethink certain habits and focus more on the things that make us authentically happy. The present flux can enable us as a society to consolidate the enormous gains of the last several decades in areas such as technology, crime prevention, women’s and civil rights, and the democratization of the planet. We can reap the fruits of a revival of realism and pragmatism at home and abroad. As we enter a new era of post-party-line common sense, we can start to reinvent hopelessly broken systems–in health care, education, climate change, and more–and rediscover some of the old-fashioned American values of which we’ve lost sight.
In Reset, Andersen explains how we’ve done it before and why we are about to do it again–and better than ever.
Se porter responsable de l'existence d'un autre – ne serait-ce qu'un instant – est un acte qui peut affecter toute une vie, se fondre dans un récit universel, s'unir à une somme de narrations et ouvrir les poumons du monde.
Lors de l'été 2013, dans le Colorado, un groupe d'écrivains et de militants s'est réuni pour s'interroger sur le rôle de la littérature et ses liens avec l'action sociale. De cette rencontre est née Narrative 4, une association caritative voulue par Colum McCann autour d'un concept fort, celui de l'" empathie radicale ".
Sa philosophie ? Le partage. " Mettez-vous dans ma peau, je me mettrai dans la vôtre. "
Son but ? Faire s'échanger les histoires à travers les pays, les continents ; une narration globale.
Son action ? Favoriser des rencontres entre des jeunes d'horizons, de cultures, de vécus différents, pour se raconter, pour écouter. Et ainsi repousser le cynisme et la désolation, donner une place à l'espérance.
De Michael Cunningham à Khaled Hosseini, en passant par Salman Rushdie, Joseph O'Connor, Edna O'Brien ou encore Ian McEwan, soixante-quinze auteurs, réunis par Colum McCann pour soutenir Narrative 4, ont accepté d'écrire un texte inédit répondant à la question : " Qu'est-ce qu'être un homme ? "