One pandemic event had attendees from Germany, South Africa, and Hawaii: “people were up at like three in the morning to come here, or a version of coming, to hear this author.”
When the fighter’s boxing career was over, they inevitably got tapped on the shoulders by their buddies who were involved in loan sharking, robberies, and more.
"That’s kind of the sentiment that both the government and these [smartphone] companies would like you to have—this feeling of powerlessness. And that’s the reason I try to keep a positive tone in the book."
Without First Amendment crusaders to catch our backs, journalists—along with educators, activists, and anybody else whose career or passion often requires that they take unpopular public positions—would be no more useful than a Putin fan zine published by the Kremlin.
Here’s a rundown of some of our favorites from 2019, including several whose authors we were lucky enough to interview this year.
Kids are sweet, and I liked being a kid, but I wanted to avoid any rose-colored looks at childhood. I actually thought it was going to be too dark when I handed the manuscript in.
Donald Trump is the product of a childhood immersed in White racist nationalism, hyper-masculinist misogyny, and the sneering elitism of the wealthiest 1%. His years as a teenager at New York Military Academy honed his authoritarianism and militarism.
“You guys saw the lab results. They say I took a bunch of sleeping pills. Now, why would I do that? I was so wasted my buddy Ryan practically had to carry me upstairs. You don’t need sleeping pills when you’re half in the bag.”
Baldwin was a significant figure for both white and black publics, but her work as an activist seeking justice in a deeply divided society was unmentioned in the many testimonials to her by white observers.
“Put some white salt around your feet in a circle,” Belcamino told me. “Leave her at the gallows in Salem if you get a chance to go. Put her on an imaginary ship.”