cover image Second Drafts of History and Other Essays

Second Drafts of History and Other Essays

Lance Morrow, Author . Basic $26.95 (323p) ISBN 978-0-465-0475

Covering the 1980s through the present, these finely honed, clear-eyed essays by Time magazine columnist Morrow are largely successful attempts to make sense of an increasingly splintered American consciousness. Loosely arranged by subject, these essays cover the gamut of human experience, seen through Morrow's practiced yet unjaundiced point of view. Whether offering a fact-laden piece on the AIDS epidemic or a personal meditation on the Jonesboro, Ark., school shootings, Morrow manages—without becoming sentimental—to evoke the spirit of a collective America, one comprising sometimes brave, sometimes cowardly individuals who, despite gaping differences of class, education, race and gender, will work together for the common good. Since Morrow is a weekly columnist, the news of the day is often the primary subject. His piece on covering the 9/11 attack is full of an anger that feels fresh years later: "A day cannot live in infamy without the nourishment of rage. Let's have rage." Morrow is less generous to outsiders than he is to America. While his rhetoric is consistently well mannered, Morrow sometimes loses his compassion for the complicated world across the ocean or just across the border. Still, this is a fine collection from one of our most widely read columnists. Agent, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Jan.)