From Publishers Weekly
Longtime collaborators Maharidge and Williamson (And Their Children After Them
, etc.) return with this provocative montage of photographs and reportage that addresses the state of the American psyche before and after September 11. Williamson's 40 stunning b&w photos and Maharidge's fractured, descriptive reportage both explore an America that is not so much marginalized as it is simply "invisible"—places and people beyond the economic, political and urban foci of mainstream reporting. It is a disturbing portrayal of an anguished and economically depressed America, for which "[w]hat happened on 9/11 was not a genesis, but an amplifier of unease that had long been building." Some sections focus on victims of post-9/11 intolerance (a young girl suspended from a West Virginia school for wearing antiwar messages on her T-shirts (school administrators thought she should see a psychologist), while others address more complex characters who are confused and angered by September 11 (a goth white supremacist in Chicago fights with Arab-Americans at school, calling them "human bitches"). Maharidge argues that contemporary America dangerously resembles the Weimar Republic, or "Heimat," that led to Nazi Germany. Despite his anecdotal evidence, the author's portrait of America as "consumed by anger and fear" will strike many as questionable at best. Sympathizers will see the argument more as a provocative call for American self-assessment than a rant. While it threatens at times to dissolve into a simple juxtaposition of tolerance versus bigotry, this book emerges as a sensitive, heartfelt examination of a wounded America whose wounds existed long before the terrorist attacks.
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About the Author
When he isn’t crossing the country talking to the people who live here, former newspaper reporter DALE MAHARIDGE has been a visiting professor of journalism at Columbia University and Stanford. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1987–88. He lives in Northern California. MICHAEL WILLIAMSON is a photographer for the Washington Post who, in addition to the Pulitzer Prize he shares with Maharidge, won a second Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the war in Kosovo. His other honors include the World Press Photo and Nikon World Understanding Through Photography awards.