cover image A Peace of My Mind: American Stories

A Peace of My Mind: American Stories

John Noltner. John Noltner, $25 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-0-692-76084-0

Minnesota-based photographer Noltner makes a powerful political statement about the backbone of America—its citizens—in this collection of 136 portraits of everyday people. The photos are part of Noltner’s ongoing A Peace of My Mind project, and were taken in years since the publication of his first book, A Peace of My Mind: Exploring the Meaning of Peace One Story at a Time (2012), during which he traveled 40,000 miles across the country to photograph and converse with average Americans. Each portrait begins with a paragraph about the person being profiled followed by a thoughtful first-person reply to the question, “What does peace mean to you?” Organized geographically, the collection encompasses all types of people, among them a former gang member in Brooklyn, a fifth grade student in Vermont, and a Holocaust survivor living in Atlanta. Many of the book’s subjects serve as community leaders, such as Angela Bates, director of the historical society in Nicodemus, Kans., and Clarence Moriwaki, the founder of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial in Washington State. The subjects’ responses touch on a variety of issues facing the country, including discrimination, drugs, prison, undocumented immigrants, and the impact of 9/11. Together they provide a revealing snapshot of what has been on the minds of Americans in recent years. (BookLife)