In his new book, âThe Politics of Petulance: America in an Age of Immaturity.â Alan Wolfe is interested in more than the current moment. We donât need âan explanation of one rogue election,â he writes, but to focus on âwhat kind of nation we have become.â
On this weekâs podcast, Wolfe discusses an âunderlying problemâ in American politics, which he calls a âpenchant for despotism, for something resembling populism; a search for quick answers; an almost visceral turning away from thoughtfulness, from reason, from understanding that politics is just simply not capable of satisfying peopleâs immediate emotions.â
He does turn his attention to President Donald Trump. âHeâs tapping into deep currents in American cultural and political life,â Wolfe says. âYet heâs so extreme, and he possesses such exaggerated features of those tendencies, that you could also say that heâs unique.â
Nadja Spiegelman visits us this week, to discuss two newly published books by Lucia Berlin, âEvening in Paradise: More Storiesâ and âWelcome Home: A Memoir With Selected Photographs and Letters.â Spiegelman talks about encountering Berlinâs work and falling in love with it âin that deeply personal way â âThis writer is mine, this writer is speaking to me, no one else will ever understand the depth of the love that I feel for thisâ â that I think Lucia Berlinâs writing sparks in so many people.â
Also on this weekâs episode, Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world, and Dwight Garner, Parul Sehgal and Jennifer Szalai talk about the books theyâve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.
Here are the books discussed by The Timesâs critics this week:
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