American Poison: How Racial Hostility Destroyed Our Promise

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Former Wall Street Journal and current New York Times reporter Eduardo Porter delves into the greatest divide in American progess—race—in his latest book American Poison.

The book does not solely examine race, though—it contextualizes it. Part historical primer and part argument, the book studies and discuses race through American history at it intersections with issues of class and gender. Porter explains how stereotypes like that of “welfare queens” have perpetuated myths that breed racial hostility while also confronting the reality of how these myths have been politicized and weaponized to drive the country apart. The book is not a meditation on the problems, however; it is a call to do better, to live up to the promise of the American dream for all people and to move beyond these myths and stereotypes that hold us back. Porter is particularly interested in the need to improve for the sake of American children. He writes, “regardless of the skin color of American children, the future prosperity of the country depends on them.”

The book has its dry moments–especially when the statistics overwhelm the storytelling. It is certainly necessary and important to include data, but in some cases, it could have been more deftly handled or even abbreviated to allow for more of the powerful narrative Porter is able to craft with personal stories like the ones of his own family in the tapestry of America. Overall, those looking to understand how the country has become so divided along racial lines would be well served in reading American Poison.

Reviewed By:

Author Eduardo Porter
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 272 pages
Publisher Knopf
Publish Date 2020-03-17
ISBN 9780451494887
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue July 2020
Category Current Events & Politics


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