Ann Hagedorn- Savage Peace: Hope and Fear in America, 1919

The chattering class and those who still give the chattering class their attention like to think the nation is going to hell in a handbasket and that these are the Darkest Days of the Republic. What you may not know is that the chattering class is historically much too busy chattering to have time to read anything of any weight – that is to say anything not written by a card carrying member of the class. Too bad. And, one suspects, it may not be only a matter of not having enough time to read – there is also the problem of having one’s mind accidentally expanded and informed by something other than, well, chatter. Ann Hagedorn’s latest book Savage Peace (Simon & Schuster, $30) is one of those books that would knock received chattering wisdom on its backside were the class to have it assigned. Ann, a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal, is a high priestess of deep research, and deep research is, of course, the antithesis of chatter. Savage Peace takes a long cool look at the year 1919, when America’s deeply racist president set about saving the world as long as the world did not include the returning black veterans. It was also the year in which smutty little toad J.Edgar Hoover started up his investigative machinery, a year in which any sort of sympathy for any political cause outside the mainstream was read as sedition. Bombs were going off in American streets. Activists were being locked up. All kinds of rotten stuff. And there were no blogs to sort it all out.

We’re especially keen on Ann’s book because she’s one of ours, a director of the Library who lives and works here where we live and work, a significant figure on the literary scene. Buy it. Read it.

-Nemo Wolfe

Published in: on April 23, 2007 at 4:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

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