BPL Presents: Kurt Andersen

Wednesday, Sept. 2, 7:00 PM ET
Kurt Andersen discusses Evil Geniuses
Live via Zoom. Free with RSVP through Brooklyn Public Library

During the twentieth century, America managed to make its economic and social systems both more and more fair and more and more prosperous. A huge, secure, and contented middle class emerged. All boats rose together. But then the New Deal gave way to the Raw Deal. Beginning in the early 1970s, by means of a long war conceived of and executed by a confederacy of big business CEOs, the superrich, and right-wing zealots, the rules and norms that made the American middle class possible were undermined and dismantled. The clock was turned back on a century of economic progress, making greed good, workers powerless, and the market all-powerful while weaponizing nostalgia, lifting up an oligarchy that served only its own interests, and leaving the huge majority of Americans with dwindling economic prospects and hope.

Why and how did America take such a wrong turn? In this deeply researched and brilliantly woven cultural, economic, and political chronicle, Kurt Andersen offers a fresh, provocative, and eye-opening history of America’s undoing, naming names, showing receipts, and unsparingly assigning blame—to the radical right in economics and the law, the high priests of high finance, a complacent and complicit Establishment, and liberal “useful idiots,” among whom he includes himself.

Only a writer with Andersen’s crackling energy, deep insight, and ability to connect disparate dots and see complex systems with clarity could make such a book both intellectually formidable and vastly entertaining. And only a writer of Andersen’s vision could reckon with our current high-stakes inflection point, and show the way out of this man-made disaster.

Kurt Andersen is the bestselling author of the novels Heyday, Turn of the Century, and True Believers. He contributes to Vanity Fair and The New York Times and was the host and co-creator of Studio 360, the Peabody Award–winning public radio show and podcast. He also writes for television, film, and the stage. Andersen co-founded Spy magazine, served as editor in chief of New York, and was a cultural columnist and critic for Time and The New Yorker. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, where he was an editor of The Harvard Lampoon. He lives in Brooklyn.

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Author photo credit Marco Lau KA

Event date: 

Wednesday, September 2, 2020 - 7:00pm

Event address: 

NY
Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America: A Recent History Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781984801340
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (while supplies last)
Published: Random House - August 11th, 2020

When did America give up on fairness? The New York Times bestselling author of Fantasyland tells the epic history of how America decided that big business gets whatever it wants, only the rich get richer, and nothing should ever change—and charts a way back to the future.

“This is the one book everyone must read as we figure out how to rebuild our country. With lucid writing and head-snapping insights, Kurt Andersen explores how a confederacy of the right and big business, with unabashed greed, deliberately reengineered our economy. To fix that will require understanding the roots of the problem. A triumph.”—Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs and Leonardo da Vinci

“Nostalgia is the antithesis of history. Andersen brilliantly exposes how nostalgia—the strategic oversimplification of our past—has erased complexity and friction from our country’s narrative to serve a single goal: to preserve the status quo for the benefit of those in power. Evil Geniuses documents how history and nostalgia are engaged in hand-to-hand combat that may determine our future.”—Ken Burns, director of The Civil War and The Roosevelts: An Intimate History


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