On theskids inAmerica

November 22, 2014 12:00 PM

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On theskids inAmerica

In Losing Our Way, former New York Times columnist Bob Herbert produces a wide-angled appraisal of an America in decline. He sees it in the 2007 collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis, in our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in our anemic recovery from the Great Recession. “As I traveled the country … I couldn’t help but notice that something fundamental in the very character of the United States had shifted,” he writes. “There was a sense of powerlessness and resignation among ordinary people that I hadn’t been used to seeing. The country seemed demoralized.” His goal is to “show what really happened, how we got into such a deep fix, and how we can get out of it.”

Herbert mixes explanatory passages on infrastructure decay, joblessness and other contemporary woes with narrative interludes to illuminate said woes. He introduces us to Mercedes Gorden, who miraculously survived her Ford Escort’s plunge off I-35 into the Mississippi River but was left disfigured b...

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