Staff Pick

Amid all the ranting, Michiko Kakutani’s articulate and rational voice is a great relief. The Death of Truth (Tim Duggan, $22) doesn’t just argue that facts are different from opinions, that words have meanings, that reality and truth exist—it proves it by drawing on a wide range of historic and cultural touchstones. From the Founders and Lincoln to writers including Arendt, Orwell, Huxley, David Foster Wallace, and others, Kakutani taps expertise to trace the cultural and political roots of today’s resurgence of populism and demagoguery. “Trump is as much a symptom of the times as he is a dangerous catalyst,” she reminds us, and demonstrates how his disdain for facts, civility, and any perspective other than his own grew from both fascism and postmodernism. She cites chilling parallels between his use of language and Hitler’s, and shows how ideas such as cultural relativity and deconstruction—originally propounded by left-wing academics to subvert master narratives—softened the lines between objective and subjective. Where the founders emphasized “the common good,” the very idea of consensus is now in tatters. What can save us? Institutions such as the three branches of government, the press, and education; the courage to insist on the truth, as the Parkland students have; and books like this one.

The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9780525574828
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Tim Duggan Books - July 17th, 2018

Staff Pick

While substance abuse has been around for a long time, the current opioid crisis really is something new. It grew up fast around the 1996 introduction of OxyContin, and the juggernaut of aggressive marketing, high dosages, and powerful pills that could be swallowed, snorted, or injected got people hooked fast. At this point there are some 2.6 million people addicted to opiates nationwide. Overdoses are the leading cause of death for those under age 50, and in a decade the total deaths from opiates exceeded all deaths from HIV/AIDS. The statistics are numbing. But let them be the gateway for the invaluable stories Beth Macy recounts in Dopesick (Little, Brown, $28) about individual users, their families, doctors, and communities. Macy is a passionate reporter and while she focuses on the western part of Virginia--the region she knows best, and which is also among the hardest hit by opiates—she gives a comprehensive look at the history of drugs in this country, traces their different demographic trails, totes up the costs, and outlines the nation’s wrong-headed and/or conflicting criminal justice, drug, and health-care policies.

Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780316551243
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Little, Brown and Company - August 7th, 2018

Staff Pick

An investigative reporter for Mother Jones, Shane Bauer engaged in undercover journalism to see the reality of a privately run facility in Louisiana. With no background checks, he was hired by Corrections Corporation of America in 2014 as a guard. Training lasted thirty days. Bauer lasted four months in the job, during which time, as he reports in American Prison (Penguin Press, $28), he was tested daily by inmates and colleagues, saw federal regulations routinely flouted, and constantly wrestled with himself over how involved to get in doing the job he was hired for. Beyond projecting strength  to avoid  being victimized, he surprised himself by how much he cared about being perceived as tough and decisive, and faced ethical dilemmas over whether to write up prisoners for minor offenses. By the third week he felt himself ineluctably affected by the culture of prison, growing angrier, more defensive, and paranoid. Like one-third of the nation’s prison guards, Bauer suffered symptoms of PTSD—a rate higher than among returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan. While profit, not justice or rehabilitation, is the driving force behind today’s prisons, Bauer’s detailed history of incarceration in the U.S. shows that this is nothing new. The 13th Amendment prohibits slavery “except as punishment for a crime,” and this loophole has been taken as a license to exploit prisoners as free labor.

American Prison: A Reporter's Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780735223585
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Penguin Press - September 18th, 2018

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