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A Safeway in Arizona: What the Gabrielle Giffords Shooting Tells Us About the Grand Canyon State and L ife in America Hardcover – December 29, 2011
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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“A Safeway in Arizona, is Zoellner's quirky, uneven, brave and astonishingly heartfelt attempt to make sense of the Saturday-morning massacre…he carefully and convincingly treads new ground and concludes that “events-especially violent ones-never happen in a vacuum.”…it’s [Zoellner’s] love for both Giffords and Arizona that makes A Safeway in Arizona so compelling a read.” — San Francisco Chronicle
“[A] book that embraces an almost thriller-style narrative structure…A Safeway in Arizona is a masterly work of reporting, historical analysis, and sly cultural criticism.” — The Boston Globe
“[A] nuanced book that [Zoellner] is unusually (probably uniquely) qualified to write…Readers outside Arizona should find plenty to admire in this book—including Zoellner’s deep investigation into Loughner’s life; the narrative of the author’s friendship with Giffords; the thoughtful treatment of gun control as an explosive socioeconomic-political issue fueled by demagogues across the desert terrain; and the explication of how the builders of Tucson and other Arizona locales seem to have failed miserably in making community possible, thus creating a breeding ground for structural dysfunction.” — The Houston Chronicle
“No one has probed the terrain around the Tucson shooting better than author and journalist Tom Zoellner…Zoellner set out to transcend the endless political banter over blame and explores the social contexts underscoring how Giffords’ act of democratic participation–”reaching out to strangers at the fringe of a Safeway”–could lead to one of the most disturbing assassination attempts in recent history. In the process, Zoellner asks a lot of questions most Arizonans would prefer to ignore.” — Salon.com
“There’s a gaping gulf between the shooting itself and the glib remembrances that make it into the news. Tom Zoellner’s new book about the shooting, A Safeway in Arizona, almost fixes this.” — Slate.com
"Tom Zoellner's remarkable book about a moment of tragedy in Arizona ends up a story of survival--a wounded Congresswoman's survival, and a wounded nation's survival as well." — Richard Rodriguez, author of Brown: The Last Discovery of America
"Zoellner brilliantly evokes the past and present of Arizona, the outsized personalities that have shaped the state and the paranoia lurking at the edge of society. A sure-to-be-controversial, troubling tale of the wages of fear on the body politic." — Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Tom Zoellner has worked as a contributing editor for Men’s Health magazine and as a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. His book The Heartless Stone: A Journey Through the World of Diamonds and Desire will be published in the summer of 2006.
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I hesitated at first to buy "A Safeway in Arizona." I was hoping that it would not be just a repeat of all the sad stories of the victims of this tragedy that I already had read in the newspaper and heard on television. It is not. Zoellner is a reporter from Arizona who knew Gabby and Gabe Zimmerman and who researched topics from Arizona politics to Southwestern architecture to mental illness and Arizona's health care in order to put the Safeway shooting in context. No one- including Zoellner - can say exactly why the shooting happened, but the author does provide a context, leaving us to ask more questions.
As I finished this book on a road trip with my husband, I kept stopping to read a few lines to him so we could talk about what Zoellner was saying. Ever since I moved to Arizona from Seattle, I had been trying to put my finger on what was so different about my neighborhood here. Zoellner's comments about how weather, architecture and politics might have resulted in a lack of community here hit me right in the gut! Despite the crummy weather in Seattle, people were out walking their dogs, biking, sitting on the front porches or walking for exercise all the time. We knew nearly all our neighbors and talked to them frequently. It is so much harder here to do the same, since we so rarely see each other!
Yes, Zoellner writes as a reporter but also as a friend of Gabby and Gabe's, but this is by no means a polemic! Read the book, talk about it, think about it. I guarantee that this is one book you will not forget.
If you think the shooting of U.S. Rep. Giffords and the posting of the photo might be related in some cultural way, and you're curious too about Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Jared Loughner and the *hows* and *whys* of Arizonan extremity, then this book is for you. I loved Zoellner's books about uranium and diamonds. He is thoughtful, thorough, straightforward and honest--a wonderful writer and reporter. His parents "moved us," as he puts it, to a suburb of Tucson when he was 11; he later covered the statehouse for the Arizona Republic. He worked on Giffords' campaigns and remains her friend and admirer--and he interweaves this information with a lot of solid reporting to explain and understand the violence of Arizona. Certain digressions are unexpectedly enlightening, such as his history of the development of La Toscana Village, where the Safeway in question is located. ("This simulacrum of a 'village' then, a bad photocopy of an older America, was the true patrimony of the northwest side.") I guess this book is political, but only in the most general, important way: Zoellner is trying to make sense of a tumultuous corner of America.
The book takes a fascinating look at Tucson's origins and mentality, schizophrenia, mental health care/history in America and Gabrielle Gifford's life and personality. The author has done a public service by writing this book which asks uncomfortable questions without providing simple answers. It requires the reader come to his or her own conclusions without an obvious polemic, which, in our pundit saturated culture, goes against the grain. Highly recommended. A very humane work.
Am still anti private citizens ownership of guns. News today indicated that more people got killed nationwide by gun violence than by car accidents! This book is one of those that highlights the unusual fascinations Americans have of gun ownership.
In that regard it will be a great book to read and discuss on blogs ...
What will be like in America if there were no guns?
We have to remember ... Guns are invented to kill.