By Jeff Sharlet
One of America’s finest reporters and essayists explores the powerful currents beneath the roiled waters of a nation coming apart.
Nominally Christian churches glorify materialism, a gluttony of the soul, while others celebrate an ecstatic indulgence in hate, citing Scripture while preparing for civil war. Lonely men gather to rage against women. There, too, in the undertow, our forty-fifth president, a vessel of conspiratorial fears and fantasies, continues to rise to sainthood, and the insurrectionist Ashli Babbitt, killed on January 6 at the Capitol, is beatified as a martyr of white womanhood.
Both political inquiry and meditation, as poetic as it is profound and disturbing, The Undertow captures a decade of growing division: roughly 2011–2021. Jeff Sharlet examines currents of gender, faith, and money that brought us to the “Trumpocene,” and finally, explores a geography of grief and uncertainty in the midst of plague and rising fascism. Beginning and closing with freedom songs of the past whose critique of American failures are nonetheless a vision of American possibility, The Undertow is a necessary reckoning with our present, precarious condition.
- 302 pages
- W. W. Norton & Company (3/21/23)
- 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches