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The View from Flyover Country: Dispatches from the Forgotten America (2018)

door Sarah Kendzior

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237688,717 (3.97)4
Offers a collection of essays on the state of America, including how labor exploitation, racism, gentrification, media bias, and other aspects of a post-employment economy have given rise to an autocrat leader.
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1-5 van 6 worden getoond (volgende | toon alle)
Meaty essays on the decline of the working class, the decay of academia and other important but depressing topics. Couldn't read all of it, just too much of a downer.
  ritaer | Dec 17, 2020 |
These essays are crushingly true, and even worse in context of the fact that things have only gotten worse since the election of 2016. Read it if you don't mind being depressed for a few days (or weeks, or months) after you finish. ( )
1 stem lemontwist | Jan 12, 2019 |
Been following the author for awhile on Twitter and was saddened to see how right she was about the 2016 election. Kendzior has written and reported on various topics such as Ferguson, the decay in Middle America, the problem in academia and journalism and more. You may recognize her or her name from her appearances in recent times talking about authoritarianism and the Trump era.

It is a collection of previously published essays on the above topics, so if you're already familiar with her work then there's nothing that's new here. Like others, a lot of the criticisms are on point: it's repetitive, sometimes the editing is iffy, the marketing doesn't match (I also thought it was going to be observations about "flyover country"), etc. That said, the title is correct: it's her viewpoint, in flyover country, of various topics and is perhaps a voice that isn't heard (ie from NY or DC).

Also understand that her thing isn't really to sugar-coat or give hope, which is also how she is on Twitter. She isn't one to promote registering to vote or where to protest, etc. but rather is an observer (and in fairness she has received threats for her previous work).

Appreciate her work but overall this wasn't really worth a buy for me since I already read some version of this on her Twitter and/or online. I had also initially made the purchase to support her but do occasionally find her unable to escape some of the criticisms she herself espouses and/or going out of her lane when say discussing legal proceedings.

Recommend the library but it's also reasonable in price (paperback or e-book) if you want to support her. ( )
  HoldMyBook | Dec 6, 2018 |
Let's get this out of the way first: yes, the title of this collection of essays is slightly misleading (comparatively few of the pieces actually focus on the Midwest, and most of those that do hone in on St Louis, the city in which author Sarah Kendzior lives). Yes, the essays themselves are really just a collection of short pieces and blog articles, written mostly for various online publications in the early 2010s and largely unrevised. Some of the pieces are repetitive, and some of them would have benefited from being expanded.

However, to dismiss The View from Flyover Country on the basis of those quibbles is to miss the forest for the trees. Kendzior is one of the most incisive writers on American culture and politics today, using her academic expertise (she holds a PhD in Anthropology, having researched the authoritarian regimes of Central Asia) to deliver a fairly damning indictment. This is not a feel-good book, especially when read in 2018 and seeing how many of Kendzior's predictions—dismissed, like Cassandra's prophecies—have come to pass.

I've noticed several reviewers on Goodreads critique Kendzior for not providing hope, for not providing a plan for Americans to get themselves out of the mess in which they currently find themselves. This, of course, is to miss some of the key points that Kendzior makes, over and over: that there are no single causes, and so there will be no single solutions. This is systemic. You've got to look outside of yourself, look around you, see who's struggling and who needs help and do the work. No one is going to come along and save you. Do the work. ( )
  siriaeve | Nov 19, 2018 |
I read this collection of essays over a period of several weeks, usually one article each morning with my wake-up cup of tea. This was partly because I don't like to read a whole series of essays by one person in a go; topics shift, the rhythm of short pieces is choppy, the pieces run together. Partly it was because each one gave me something to think about all day. And partly it was because reading essays written in 2012-14 and realizing that nothing was new or improved was deeply depressing.

Kendzior is a sharp reporter, and her academic expertise in authoritarianism and the social and cultural conditions that both create it and are created by it informs much of what she sees. She has the ability to point out that what we have been conditioned to accept as normal is anything but. She unsparingly destroys the American myth of the meritocracy, and shows how our system is set up to perpetuate a wealthy elite, while the rest of us fall further and further behind.

Infuriating, intense, inspiring. Recommended. ( )
1 stem teckelvik | Jun 20, 2018 |
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This is a collection of essays I wrote between 2012 and 2014.  (Introduction The Audacity of Despair, 2017)
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In 2006, the Reverand Will Bowen launched a movement called A Complaint Free World.  The goal of the movement was to get people to stop expressing "pain, grief, or discontent."

The best way to stop expressing pain, grief, or discontent was to buy Bowen's book and purple  bracelets from his website. [...]

In an America built on the reinvention of reality, critical words make people uneasy -- and so do those who speak them.  In 1996, Alan Greenspan famously chided the financial communiity for "irrational exuberance."  They ignored him, and America became a bubble economy [...]

When the bubbles popped, and the jobs disappeared, and the debt soared, and the desperation hit, Americans were told to stay positive. [...] Complainers suffer the cruel imperatives of optimism: lighten up, suck it up, chin up, buck up.   In other words: shut up.

The surest way to keep a problem from being solved is to deny that the problem exists.[...]

All social movements are dismissed at some point as complaining.  Over time, they are recognized as speaking truth to power.  [...]

Complaint is often perceived as an alternative to alternative to action.  Those who complain are criticized as "just complaining," instead of "actually doing something."  But for marginalized and stigmatized groups -- racial and religious minorities, women, the poor, people who lack civil rights -- complaining is the first step in removing the shame for a lifetime of being told one's problems are unimportant, nonexistent, or even a cause for gratitutde.  Complaining alerts the world that the problem is a problem. [...]

People hate complaining because the do not like to listen.  When you listen to someone complaining, you are forced to acknowledge them as a human being instead of a category.  You are forced to witness how social systems are borne out in personal experience, to recognize that hardship hurts, that solutions are not as simple as they seem.

You are forced to trust, and you are forced to care.  In complaint lies a path to compassion.   (Coda: "In Defense of Complaining")
On January 18, 2017, two days before leaving the White House, Barack Obama addressed America as its president for the last time: "We're going to be okay," he promised citizens anxious not only about Trump's unexpected win, but about the autocratic policies he promised to pass and the extremist cabinet he had assembled.

As you know by now, America is not okay. [...]

"Who could have predicted a Trump win?" pundits pondered, and the answer was often blacks, Latinos, Muslims, and residents of the ignored heartland regions where he gained popularity -- the people whom Trump treated as target practice, and people in regions he targeted for votes.  These folks are the "no one" in the oft-said and inaccurate phrase of "no one saw it coming," a phrase that indicts the fool who utters it.   Many Americans saw it coming, but their warning were often dismissed as implausible or, worse, hysterical, when they were simply logical predictions based on lived experience.  The people pushed to the margins knew it would not be okay, because it had never been okay.  For many, the hypotheticals had already happened.  (Epilogue, September 2017)
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Offers a collection of essays on the state of America, including how labor exploitation, racism, gentrification, media bias, and other aspects of a post-employment economy have given rise to an autocrat leader.

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