Evan Osnos’ new book explores the origins of America’s fury

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One of the book of the year…wild land, by Evan Osnos of The New Yorker, sets the background for America’s anger through deep reporting and “thousands of hours of conversation” in three places before DC:

  • Greenwich, where he grew up… Clarksburg, WVA, where he was a young photog for the exponent telegram …more chicago, where he was a metro reporter for The Tribune before becoming a Beijing correspondent.
  • “this book The story of a crucible, a period bound by two attacks on the spirit of the country”—9/11 and 1/6, writes Osnos.
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Reporting of this book Six years on, 10,172 miles, and two kids on arrival,” Ivan tells me.

The moment I found out I had to write this book was on August 6, 2015—the night of the first Republican presidential debate I saw at the home of some Trump supporters in Ohio. The host was drinking from a coffee cup with a swastika on it. I didn’t exactly expect Trump to win, but I decided that Trump’s pre-history would someday be desperately needed, to understand how he became even remotely possible in American politics.

after trump wins Osnos felt that the best way to write about that era in Washington was to “get out of it, by documenting how it resonated through this country”:

I didn’t know when the book would end. But standing on the floor of the Capitol reporting for The New Yorker on January 6th, I knew the project had reached its conclusion. In the book, I write about that moment: “The scene unfolding in Capital was like an inferno in American politics driven by cynicism, unprovoked, and deceit.


More on “Wildland”


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