For readers of Rebecca Solnit and Jenny Odell, this poetic and inventive blend of history, memoir, and visual essay reflects on how we can resist the erasure of our collective memory in this American century.
Our sense of our history requires us to recall the details of time, of experiences that help us find our place in the world together and encourage us in the search for our individual identities. When we lose sight of the past, our ability to see ourselves and to understand one another is diminished.
In this book, Colette Brooks explores how some of the more forgotten aspects of recent American experiences explain our challenging and often puzzling present. Through intimate and meticulously researched retellings of individual stories of violence, misfortune, chaos, and persistence—from the first mass shooting in America from the tower at the University of Texas, the televised assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald, life with nuclear bombs and the Doomsday Clock, obsessive diarists and round-the-clock surveillance, to pandemics and COVID-19—Brooks is able to reframe our country’s narratives with new insight to create a prismatic account of how efforts to reclaim the past can be redemptive, freeing us from the tyranny of the present moment.