Who We Are Now: Stories of What Americans Lost and Found during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Who We Are Now: Stories of What Americans Lost and Found during the COVID-19 Pandemic

by Michelle Fishburne
Who We Are Now: Stories of What Americans Lost and Found during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Who We Are Now: Stories of What Americans Lost and Found during the COVID-19 Pandemic

by Michelle Fishburne


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Michelle Fishburne did the unthinkable during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic: she motor-homed 12,000 miles all over the United States and sat down with hundreds of people face to face. People shared what their lives were like, what made them struggle, and what surprised them. The personal histories in this book show a diversity of American lives, from the young college student who finds unexpected fame on TikTok to a special-education teacher sharing the challenges of remote learning. Everyone's story is different. Some, like Fishburne, lost their jobs. Others lost family, friends, and even their own health and well-being. And yet among the difficulties, many found something that had eluded them before the pandemic. These testimonies offer a glimpse into what people across America lost and found during the pandemic's critical first year. Fishburne lets us hear people's stories as if we were there, in real time, at the beginning of COVID-19, when employment was uncertain, schools were online, and American life more unpredictable than ever before.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469671239
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 03/14/2023
Series: Documentary Arts and Culture, Published in association with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University
Pages: 248
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Michelle Fishburne is a full-time digital nomad, splitting her time between her 2006 motor home, Airbnbs, and the occasional house-sitting gig.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

A profound look at the stories behind what was happening in our country during the pandemic. Michelle Fishburne pulls back the curtain on the lives of ordinary people during this extraordinary time. The stories are compelling and gripping, each so personal, yet we can all relate on so many levels. As a country, we will be forever changed by our time of isolation. Fishburne's book is a time capsule of this defining and transformative moment."—Sky Bergman, director of Lives Well Lived and professor emeritus of photography and video, California Polytechnic State University

Fishburne gives us a beautiful and, at times, elegiac mosaic of the larger experience of our lives in these unprecedented times. This portrait is maddening, heartbreaking, frustrating, hopeful, and at times inspiring."—Daniel Kerr, American University

Having just finished Michelle Fishburne's book, I am struck by feelings of awe, gratitude, and absolute wonderment at the strength and resilience of people in the face of what, in my experience, was the most difficult, terrifying year most Americans had ever witnessed. Thanks to this book, I can look back on the pandemic with a new perspective and see that while COVID-19 has forever changed us, many of those changes have been surprisingly positive."—Colleen Bridger, former public health director and COVID-19 pandemic incident commander, City of San Antonio

Michelle Fishburne has assembled a diverse array of voices from around the nation that add up to a compelling snapshot of America during a time of crisis and uncertainty. The profound conclusion is that Americans do in fact care deeply—about each other, about the fate of our country and what it stands for. Together these voices point a way forward, out of the darkness and toward the light."—Kern Konwiser, Emmy Award–winning filmmaker

COVID-19 took away the breath and voice of many Americans. Michelle Fishburne amplifies the breath and voice of the people she met through her travels across America. The stories of fear, resilience, and hope are ones we all lived through during the pandemic. Fishburne reminds us we were in it together—and still are."—Alex Jahangir, chair, Metro Nashville COVID-19 Taskforce, and author of Hotspot: A Doctor's Diary from the Pandemic

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