From Publishers Weekly
This hit-or-miss collection includes new stories by a smattering of seventeen randomly linked writers, some better known (Amy Bloom, Neal Pollack, Darin Strauss) than others (David Rees, Benjamin Weissman, Felicia Luna Lemus). Each tries tackling a moment in American history, be it seemingly miniscule (the 1971 basketball game the Harlem Globetrotters lost, rendered as a charming comic strip by cartoonist and rapper Keith Knight) or generation-defining (veteran Ron Kovic skewering the Vietnam War in "The Recruiters," a pedantic polemic about what happens when soldiers visit a high school). Other topics include the Russian Revolution in America, the Woolworth strikers and the lunar landing. Cooper's and Mansbach's thesis is noble and intellectually rigorous: that "the hegemonic single-narrative of mainstream American history" is essentially fiction in itself. But only Paul LaFarge's delightful McSweeney's-esque story, "The Discovery of America," which provides eleven possible ways the United States came to be founded, really grapples with that issue. Otherwise, we get several pieces about individuals facing the terrors of conservatism or struggling with the immigrant experience. What emerges is a mixed bag of literary ambition that sometimes smells suspiciously of rejected submissions to the New Yorker's Shouts and Murmurs department.
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About the Author
T Cooper's debut novel Some of the Parts, was a B&N Discover Program selection and a Quality Paperback Book Club pick. Her work has appeared in many publications, including the New York Times, the Believer, and The Future Dictionary of America (McSweeney?s Books). Her second novel, Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry Blondes is forthcoming from Penguin/Plume. T lives in New York City. Adam Mansbach is the author of the novels Angry Black White Boy (Crown, 2005) and Shackling Water (Doubleday). His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, Brooklyn Noir (Akashic 2004), The Best Music Writing 2004 (DaCapo), and elsewhere.