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BEFORE IT'S GONE

STORIES FROM THE FRONT LINES OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN SMALL-TOWN AMERICA

A powerful story of surviving, adapting, and making the changes needed to save our home before it’s too late.

A raw look at the climate disasters wreaking havoc on small-town America.

In four sections—fire, water, air, and Earth—Emmy and Murrow Award–winning CBS News correspondent Vigliotti takes readers on a harrowing journey into a variety of natural disasters across the U.S., which are becoming increasingly frequent and dangerous. The author zooms in on the impact of these disasters on the ordinary Americans living in their paths. From uncontrollable wildfires to massively destructive tornadoes, Vigliotti examines the conditions of each event, as well as the systemic failures of both local and national governments playing catch-up after those life-changing minutes. The author asks a host of relevant questions: What does life mean in a disaster-prone area? Who can afford—both financially and emotionally—to remain in these areas? How can a small town survive the onslaught of storms that often cost more than $1 billion to clean up? Vigliotti lucidly breaks down his time covering these calamities and shares the stories of those who have been displaced by Mother Nature as recently as the Lahaina wildfire of August 2023. “Yes, Lahaina will rebuild again, just like every other American town lost before it,” he writes. “But unless changes are made, another countdown clock will turn on and it’s anyone’s guess when time will run out. Because before every ‘unprecedented’ explosion in the cities and towns of a nation now under siege from an environment it spent too long taking for granted, there is a history of missed opportunities.” The author also chronicles the important work of notable scientists who have fought against apathy and misunderstanding in order to ensure that we are better prepared for the inevitable.

A powerful story of surviving, adapting, and making the changes needed to save our home before it’s too late.

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781668008171

Page Count: 304

Publisher: One Signal/Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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  • National Book Award Winner


  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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