Beautiful Country Burn Again
As Ben Fountain sees it, the United States is facing its third existential crisis. The first was the struggle over slavery, culminating in the Civil War. The second was the Great Depression, the worst economic downturn in the history of the industrialised world, which brought about the New Deal. The third, is Donald Trump. But how will it end?
Taking in America’s love affair with firearms, celebrity culture, Russia, Obamacare, Hillary Clinton and, of course, Trump himself, Beautiful Country Burn Again explores how the United States reached a new crisis point and asks how America really can be great again.
The highly acclaimed novelist brandishes a full array of literary tools, including song, verse, historical anecdotes, piles of research and plenty of satisfying takedowns to keep you on his ride . . . Fountain wants the country to burn. No one gets out of his book unscathed . . . His brutal observations could easily be the main feature of his work, yet Fountain has more important things to say and more ingenious ways to say them * * New York Times * * Elegiac . . . Pitched halfway between political reportage and Great American Novel, it breathes literary life back into what has become a very familiar story * * Guardian * * No book published this year gave me more pleasure than Ben Fountain's Beautiful Country Burn Again, a wide-ranging collection of despatches about the Trump election campaign. Very much in the freewheeling tradition of Hunter S. Thompson, Norman Mailer and Joan Didion, it's a stylistic tour de force and very funny * * New Statesman, Best Books of 2018 * * A masterpiece of a book, the true story of American possibility -- DAVID FINKEL, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of THE GOOD SOLDIERS His eye for the absurd and ability to draw attention to the sheer strangeness of America made him a perfect observer of 2016 . . . Funny and also horrifying, Fountain has spectacular historical reach * * Guardian * * Fountain has the storytelling gifts to bring the world home to us and a moral compass set to true north -- GARY SHTEYNGART Fountain is a superb writer * * Irish Times * * An engaging meditation on two large questions that surely preoccupy many Americans these days: What on Earth happened in and to the United States in 2016? And why did it happen? . . . Fountain confronts both these riddles in creative and provocative ways that force a reader to think hard . . . The novelist's talents that won him the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award for Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk are on display on nearly every page * * Washington Post * * A powerful chronicle of the 2016 election and the most surreal year in American politics . . . There may be no writer alive today who better captures the manic, fevered, paranoid style in 21st-century America than Ben Fountain . . . In Fountain's hands, the story of what happened in 2016 reads anew, fresh, alive, told with a historian's rigor and a satirist's wit . . . Fountain writes brilliantly about the spectacle of the last election. At its best, Beautiful Country Burn Again sits alongside Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 and Joan Didion's coverage of the 1988 presidential campaign as some of the best political writing of the past 50 years * * Rolling Stone * * Fountain brings a unique and thoughtful assessment to the subject matter. With fluid, captivating writing and hilarious quotes and descriptions, he details each candidate's foibles, blithely ticking off each month of the campaign . . . It's not a new message; many other writers have offered similar versions. But not only is Fountain more entertaining, he more clearly illustrates how a cultural undercurrent of divisive economic interests, which has caused this nation to go up in flames in the past, is once again driving a populist surge against the status quo * * Seattle Times * *
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