Newmark Theatre

Nicholas D. Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn

Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, bestselling authors of Half the Sky, return with a deeply personal new book, Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope. Looking with clear eyes at our nation’s governmental failures over the past half-century, Kristof and WuDunn examine the contemporary crisis in working-class America through the lens of the families Kristof grew up with in the rural, working-class town of Yamhill, Oregon.

Yamhill prospered for much of the 20th century, but, like many working class towns, has been devastated as blue-collar jobs disappeared. About one-quarter of the kids Kristof grew up with have died in adulthood from drugs, alcohol, suicide, or reckless accidents. “We wanted to understand more deeply what had happened to Nick’s friends on the school bus,” they write, and “how our country could have let tens of millions of people suffer an excruciating loss of jobs, dignity, lives, hopes, and children.”

Reporting for the book took Kristof and WuDunn to all 50 states, and they tell stories of struggling Americans across the country, ranging from the Dakotas and Oklahoma to New York and Virginia. Altogether, there emerges a picture of working-class families needlessly but profoundly damaged as a result of decades of policy mistakes. With their superb, nuanced reportage, Kristof and WuDunn — the first husband-and-wife team to share a Pulitzer Prize for journalism — have given us a book that is both riveting and impossible to ignore.

Price includes a copy of Kristof and WuDunn’s Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope. Books distributed at event.

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