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Book cover for "Facing the Mountain"
Viking

Daniel James Brown, the bestselling author of “The Boys in the Boat,” has a new book entitled “Facing the Mountain.” It is a World War II saga that showcases the special Japanese American Army unit that overcame brutal odds in Europe; their families, incarcerated back home; and a young man who refused to surrender his constitutional rights, even if it meant imprisonment.

“Facing the Mountain” forces readers to grapple with questions of who willingly and unwillingly makes sacrifices for our country, how constitutional rights look different to each of us, and what it really means to be a patriot.

Book Cover - Separate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson, and America's Journey from Slavery to Segregation

Steve Luxenberg is the author of "Separate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson, and America's Journey from Slavery to Segregation" and the critically acclaimed "Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret." During his thirty years as a Washington Post senior editor, he has overseen reporting that has earned numerous national honors, including two Pulitzer Prizes.

Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court case synonymous with “separate but equal,” created remarkably little stir when the justices announced their near-unanimous decision on May 18, 1896. Yet it is one of the most compelling and dramatic stories of the nineteenth century, whose outcome embraced and protected segregation, and whose reverberations are still felt into the twenty-first. "Separate" spans a striking range of characters and landscapes, bound together by the defining issue of their time and ours: race and equality.

Elaine Weiss’ new book, "The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote," rediscovers the story of American women rising up to claim their rights, as their long fight for the vote reaches its climax in 1920. This story resonates today as a surge of women's political activism reshapes the national conversation, sweeping a record number of women into city halls, state legislatures, the halls of Congress, and the 2020 contest for the White House.

The electoral “Pink Wave” of 2018 would not have been possible if not for the white and yellow wave of suffrage activists taking to the streets more than a century ago. In recent op-eds for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time, Daily Beast, and Lenny Letter, Elaine Weiss has written compelling commentaries linking today's headlines to historical precedent, drawn from her extensive research.

Adam Winkler is a professor at UCLA School of Law, where he specializes in American constitutional law. His scholarship has been cited by the Supreme Court of the United States and his writing has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New Republic, Atlantic, Slate, and Scotusblog.

In "We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights," Winkler reveals how American businesses won equal rights and transformed the Constitution to serve the ends of capital. Corporations - like minorities and women - have had a civil rights movement of their own, and now possess nearly all the same rights as ordinary people.

Why did Donald Trump follow Barack Obama into the White House? Why is America so polarized? And how does American exceptionalism explain these social changes?

In Exceptional America: What Divides Americans from the World and from Each Other, Mugambi Jouet describes why Americans are far more divided than other Westerners over basic issues, including wealth inequality, health care, climate change, evolution, gender roles, abortion, gay rights, sex, gun control, mass incarceration, the death penalty, torture, human rights, and war. Raised in Paris by a French mother and Kenyan father, Jouet then lived in the Bible Belt, Manhattan, and beyond.

While exceptionalism once was a source of strength, it may now spell decline, as unique features of U.S. history, politics, law, culture, religion, and race relations foster grave conflicts. Exceptional America dissects the American soul, in all of its peculiar, clashing, and striking manifestations.


  The new film, Speech & Debate, directed by Dan Harris, tells the story of three “outsider” teenagers frustrated by the hypocrisy they see in their parents, teachers, and their entire school board in Salem, Oregon. The film deals with issues of homophobia, First Amendment rights, and censorship alongside trust, friendship, coping with high school. In order to find a way to make their voices heard in their community, Diwata, Solomon, and Howie revive their school’s defunct Speech & Debate team.

 

The screenplay was adapted by Stephen Karam from his play of the same name. Karam is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and his three most recent plays, Speech & Debate, Sons of the Prophet, and The Humans - the latter of which won the Tony Award for Best Play last year - have all been produced in New York City by Roundabout Theatre Company.

Sarah Steele plays Diwata in the film - reprising her role in the Off-Broadway stage production in 2007. Other credit’s include Brigid in The Humans, the 2004 film Spanglish, CBS’s The Good Wife and its spin-off for CBS All-Access, The Good Fight -- on which she plays Marissa Gold.

Steele’s Speech & Debate character, Diwata, is the quintessential High School Drama kid. She sees her life through the lens of whichever play was most recently put up in her school’s auditorium. She’s impulsive -- but she means well. Sarah Steele joins us.

  Countless books have been written about the civil rights movement, but far less attention has been paid to what happened after the dramatic passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 and the turbulent forces it unleashed.

Ari Berman is a political correspondent for The Nation and an investigative journalism Fellow at the Nation Institute. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times and Rolling Stone, and he is a frequent commentator on MSNBC and NPR.

In his book, Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, he charts both the transformation of American democracy under the VRA and the counterrevolution that has sought to limit voting rights, from 1965 to the present day.

David Shipler reported for the New York Times from 1966 to 1988 in New York, Saigon, Moscow, Jerusalem, and Washington DC. He is the author of six books including the best sellers Russia, and The Working Poor, as well as Arab and Jew which won the Pulitzer Prize.

His new book, Rights at Risk: The Limits of Liberty in Modern America, is an examination of violations of the constitutional principles that preserve individual rights and civil liberties from court rooms to class rooms.