Stakes Is High: Life After the American Dream

Mychal Denzel Smith. Bold Type, $26 (192p) ISBN 978-1-56858-873-5
Journalist Smith (Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching) addresses familiar topics through a fresh lens in these searing essays. Contending that the divisions and inequities of the Trump era are “not an aberration,” Smith analyzes recent events including Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest, Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s political rise, as well as historical antecedents. He laments that his great-great-great grandfather, who was born into slavery in 1836, was prohibited by North Carolina law from learning to read and write, and therefore “left no record of his internal life.” Taking up the issue of police brutality, Smith notes that when the first modern police force was founded in 19th-century London, its main functions included guarding private property and putting down labor strikes, and that policing in the American South involved forestalling slave rebellions. “White supremacist heteropatriarchal capitalism” brought America to its current state, argues Smith, who also puts the matter in more graphic terms: “Pimping (not sex work) is capitalism in its purest form.” Infused with righteous indignation and astute observation, this is a must-read progressive polemic. Agent: Jessica Papin, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 05/21/2020
Release date: 01/21/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-3377-0
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