Beautiful Country Burn Again

Beautiful Country Burn Again

Democracy, Rebellion, and Revolution

eBook - 2018
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In a sweeping work of reportage set over the course of 2016, New York Times bestselling author Ben Fountain recounts a surreal year of politics and an exploration of the third American existential crisis

Twice before in its history, the United States has been faced with a crisis so severe it was forced to reinvent itself in order to survive: first, the struggle over slavery, culminating in the Civil War, and the second, the Great Depression, which led to President Roosevelt's New Deal and the establishment of America as a social-democratic state. In a sequence of essays that excavate the past while laying bare the political upheaval of 2016, Ben Fountain argues that the United States may be facing a third existential crisis, one that will require a "burning" of the old order as America attempts to remake itself.

Beautiful Country Burn Again narrates a shocking year in American politics, moving from the early days of the Iowa Caucus to the crystalizing moments of the Democratic and Republican national conventions, and culminating in the aftershocks of the weeks following election night. Along the way, Fountain probes deeply into history, illuminating the forces and watershed moments of the past that mirror and precipitated the present, from the hollowed-out notion of the American Dream, to Richard Nixon's southern strategy, to our weaponized new conception of American exceptionalism, to the cult of celebrity that gave rise to Donald Trump.

In an urgent and deeply incisive voice, Ben Fountain has fused history and the present day to paint a startling portrait of the state of our nation. Beautiful Country Burn Again is a searing indictment of how we came to this point, and where we may be headed.

Publisher: New York, NY : HarperCollins Publishers, [2018]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062688767
Characteristics: 1 online resource


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DBRL_ReginaF Mar 18, 2019

If it's not too soon to relive every excruciating moment of the 2016 election (and there were so many excruciating moments) then this is a great book for gaining some perspective and historical context. Ben Fountain does a great job of guiding back through all the crazy without feeling like a total beat down.

Mar 13, 2019

This book provides an excellent perspective on the 2016 election with insights into a range of topics that I find to be critical for attempting to understand America today. In his prologue, author Fountain begins “2016 was the year all the crazy parts of America ran amok over the rest. Screens, memes, fake news, Twitter storms, Russian hackers, pussy grabbers, Hillary’s emails, war, the wall, the wolf call of the alt-right, “hand” size, lies upon lies upon lies and moneymoneymoney — the more money, the more lies, is this politics’ iron rule? — they all combined for a billion-dollar stink of an election.”

Many of the essays in this book were originally published in the Guardian. The deputy news editor at the Guardian provides an excellent review at I recommend this book to anyone, especially those who share the view that dystopia has apparently become reality in America. Enjoy!

Feb 17, 2019

This is a great book; the best piece of nonfiction that I have read in some time. The focus is on the distressing, dangerous political and economic environment in which we are now living. The book is carefully researched and documented; the author's familiarity with relevant information and literature is impressive. He weaves together various elements and antecedents of our current environment with a compelling writing style. Mr. Fountain's prose is flowing and accessible; with just enough stream of consciousness to capture the mania of our time.

Nov 07, 2018

An insightful, wide-ranging, and very readable analysis of the (long) road to the 2016 election of Donald Trump, and the attendant erosion of U.S. democracy. Fountain brings together several strands of U.S. political and social history, and he frames his discussion in cogent, convincing ways. While this terrain is perhaps well-travelled by now, Fountain has a unique perspective that I haven't read elsewhere. Great novelist and short-story writer that he is, Fountain also has an eye for telling detail, and a mordant sense of humor. Highly recommend for anyone concerned about the state of the nation and wanting to understand how we got here.

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