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Divided We Fall: Gambling with History in the Nineties

Overview

"One of the most refreshing and accessible investigations of modern American life to come along in years." So says the San Francisco Chronicle of Haynes Johnson's clear-sighted but compassionate Divided We Fall, an eloquent warning that also uncovers myriad reasons for hope.
Over the course of two years, the Washington-based Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist crisscrossed the United States, talking to bankers, gang leaders, schoolteachers, businessmen, farmers—even President Bill Clinton—about the current state of...

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Overview

"One of the most refreshing and accessible investigations of modern American life to come along in years." So says the San Francisco Chronicle of Haynes Johnson's clear-sighted but compassionate Divided We Fall, an eloquent warning that also uncovers myriad reasons for hope.
Over the course of two years, the Washington-based Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist crisscrossed the United States, talking to bankers, gang leaders, schoolteachers, businessmen, farmers—even President Bill Clinton—about the current state of America. The result, a powerful portrait of Americans at a pivotal point in their history, raises tough questions that continue to resonate.
Nationwide, Americans faced the legacy of the Reagan Eighties (disappearing jobs, soaring crime, racial polarization) with immense apprehension and a pervasive skepticism that colored their attitudes about politicians and the political system itself. At the same time, people in all walks of life were eager to take on the challenges of the Nineties. "I do not feel that I have been writing the obituary of the American Dream," writes Johnson in the final chapter of Divided We Fall; "I believe I have been writing about an interlude in the reclaiming of that Dream."
Indeed, with this brilliant document, Johnson urges and inspires us to join together, face the challenge of change, and take the brave gamble to reclaim the American Dream.

In his first book since the bestselling Sleepwalking Through History, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Johnson interviews grassroots Americans from New England to the Sunbelt, from the heartland to the West Coast. The result is a provocative assessment of modern America.

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Editorial Reviews

Minneapolis Tribune
“[Johnson's] reporter's instinct and analysis . . . make the book indispensable. His ear and eye for understanding America get to the real point of what our problems are.”
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Johnson, whose Sleepwalking Through History dealt with America's moral decline in the Reagan era, spent more than a year crisscrossing the country, interviewing people from all walks of life to gauge the current American temperament. Everywhere he went he encountered rising cynicism, alienation from politics and institutions, fear over the economic future, concern with violent crime, volatile ethnic and racial tensions. This sobering report warns that with massive cutbacks in funding for schools, hospitals and social welfare programs, more and more people are falling through a ``safety net'' rent with gaping holes. Johnson's odyssey culminates in an interview with President Clinton which reads like a canned speech. Calling Clinton's proposed health care plan ``the boldest, most visionary domestic initiative since the 1930's,'' Johnson concludes that Clinton's greatest challenge will be to convince Americans that his programs are worth additional cost and sacrifice. 50,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo; author tour. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Johnson, a Pulitzer Prize winner, PBS commentator, and author of the best-selling Sleepwalking Through History ( LJ 2/1/91), follows up with this vision of the problems facing America in the post-Reagan years. Johnson reports from across the country about the concerns of grass-roots Americans and their attitudes about such issues as crime, education, and our economic future. Among the more disturbing trends cited are a tendency toward even more racial and cultural disunity and an obsession with short-term results at the expense of long-range planning. Although his travels took him to only a few select locales, Johnson found some eloquent subjects to interview, including President Clinton. This stark portrayal of the nation makes for a disturbing book but one that should be owned by every library. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/93.-- Gary Williams, Southeastern Ohio Regional Lib., Caldwell
Booknews
Johnson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, interviews grassroots Americans from across the country, creating a portrait of a people disconnected from their government and yearning for change. Johnson contrasts the hopes and fears of business leaders, judges, gang members, illegal aliens, students, farmers, and teachers with the inner workings of Washington during Bill Clinton's volatile first year as president. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393313062
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/17/1995
  • Pages: 446
  • Sales rank: 1,037,592
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Haynes Johnson

Haynes Johnson is the author of Divided We Fall: Gambling with History in the Nineties. He lives in Washington, DC.

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