Calendar

Aug
28
Wed
Busboys Books Presents: The Fire is Upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Debate over Race in America @ Busboys and Poets, 14th & V
Aug 28 @ 6:30 pm

How the clash between the civil rights firebrand and the father of modern conservatism continues to illuminate America’s racial divide

On February 18, 1965, an overflowing crowd packed the Cambridge Union in Cambridge, England, to witness a historic televised debate between James Baldwin, the leading literary voice of the civil rights movement, and William F. Buckley Jr., a fierce critic of the movement and America’s most influential conservative intellectual. The topic was “the American dream is at the expense of the American Negro,” and no one who has seen the debate can soon forget it. Nicholas Buccola’s The Fire Is upon Us is the first book to tell the full story of the event, the radically different paths that led Baldwin and Buckley to it, the controversies that followed, and how the debate and the decades-long clash between the men continues to illuminate America’s racial divide today.

Born in New York City only fifteen months apart, the Harlem-raised Baldwin and the privileged Buckley could not have been more different, but they both rose to the height of American intellectual life during the civil rights movement. By the time they met in Cambridge, Buckley was determined to sound the alarm about a man he considered an “eloquent menace.” For his part, Baldwin viewed Buckley as a deluded reactionary whose popularity revealed the sickness of the American soul. The stage was set for an epic confrontation that pitted Baldwin’s call for a moral revolution in race relations against Buckley’s unabashed elitism and implicit commitment to white supremacy.

A remarkable story of race and the American dream, The Fire Is upon Us reveals the deep roots and lasting legacy of a conflict that continues to haunt our politics.

NICHOLAS BUCCOLA is the author of The Political Thought of Frederick Douglass and the editor of The Essential Douglass and Abraham Lincoln and Liberal Democracy. His work has appeared in the New York TimesSalon, and many other publications. He is the Elizabeth and Morris Glicksman Chair in Political Science at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, and lives in Portland.

JONATHAN RAUCH, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, is the author of seven books and many articles on public policy, culture, and government. He is a contributing writer for The Atlantic and recipient of the 2005 National Magazine Award, the magazine industry’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. His latest book is The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50.

Sep
3
Tue
Caitlin Zaloom: Indebted @ 2nd Floor, The Strand
Sep 3 @ 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Doors open 30 minutes before the start of the event.

The struggle to pay for college is one of the defining features of middle-class life in America today. At kitchen tables all across the country, parents agonize over whether to burden their children with loans or to sacrifice their own financial security by taking out a second mortgage or draining their retirement savings. Indebted takes readers into the homes of middle-class families throughout the nation to reveal the hidden consequences of student debt and the ways that financing college has transformed family life.

Caitlin Zaloom gained the confidence of numerous parents and their college-age children, who talked candidly with her about stressful and intensely personal financial matters that are usually kept private. In this remarkable book, Zaloom describes the profound moral conflicts for parents as they try to honor what they see as their highest parental duty—providing their children with opportunity—and shows how parents and students alike are forced to take on enormous debts and gamble on an investment that might not pay off. What emerges is a troubling portrait of an American middle class fettered by the “student finance complex”—the bewildering labyrinth of government-sponsored institutions, profit-seeking firms, and university offices that collect information on household earnings and assets, assess family needs, and decide who is eligible for aid and who is not.

Superbly written and unflinchingly honest, Indebted breaks through the culture of silence surrounding the student debt crisis, revealing the unspoken costs of sending our kids to college.

Join us in the 2nd Floor Art Department as Caitlyn discusses her new book with fellow author Ron Lieber!

Caitlin Zaloom is associate professor of social and cultural analysis at New York University. She is a founding editor of Public Books and the author of Out of the Pits: Traders and Technology from Chicago to London. She lives in New York City. Twitter @caitlinzaloom

Ron Lieber is the “Your Money” columnist for The New York Times. Before joining the Times in 2008, he wrote The Wall Street Journal’s “Green Thumb” personal finance column, was part of the start-up team at the paper’s “Personal Journal” section, and worked at Fortune and Fast Company magazines. He is the author or coauthor of three books, including The New York Times bestseller Taking Time Off.

Sep
5
Thu
Sharon Marcus’ THE DRAMA OF CELEBRITY (in convo w/ André Dombrowski) @ Penn Book Center
Sep 5 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
The Drama of Celebrity is a look at celebrity over the past 200 years. Arguably invented in the 18th century, the book shows, through archival research and vintage scrapbooks, that celebrity endorsements and fan mail were not invented in Hollywood. Marcus uses Sarah Bernhardt, or the 19th century Lady Gaga,  as her through line throughout to show the continuities between the past and present. The book also uniquely offers a model for how celebrity works: icons are not merely famous for being famous, the media alone cannot make or break stars, and fans are not simply passive dupes. Marcus argues that although some can find celebrity culture disdainful, there is nothing inherently problematic about it and stardom can actually be of real positive import.
Sharon Marcus is a founding editor of Public Books and the Orlando Harriman Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. She is the author of the award-winning Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England (Princeton) and Apartment Stories: City and Home in Nineteenth-Century Paris and London. Twitter @MarcusSharon.
Sep
7
Sat
Reading with Jack Zipes @ Moon Palace Books
Sep 7 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Join us for a reading and  book launch celebrating three new books of magical tales: The Giant Olm and Tiny Tim, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and Smack Bam, or The Art of Governing Men. Jack will be joined by friends and storytellers to share these new titles.

Sep
19
Thu
Tom Campanella presents Brooklyn: The Once and Future City in conversation with Philip Lopate @ Greenlight Bookstore
Sep 19 @ 7:30 pm

America’s most storied urban underdog, Brooklyn has become an internationally recognized brand in recent decades—celebrated and scorned as one of the hippest destinations in the world. In Brooklyn: The Once and Future City, Brooklyn-born Thomas J. Campanella unearths long-lost threads of the urban past, telling the rich history of the rise, fall, and reinvention of one of the world’s most resurgent cities. Campanella tracks the dreams, visions, and outsized failures that created the Brooklyn we know today, revealing how this immigrant Promised Land drew millions, fell victim to its own social anxieties, and yet proved resilient enough to reawaken as a multicultural powerhouse and global symbol of urban vitality. Fellow Brooklynite and award-winning writer Phillip Lopate joins Campanella in conversation.