Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope

From NAFSA 2021 plenary speaker Nicholas Kristof.

Drawing us deep into an “other America,” authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn tell this story, in part, through the lives of some of the people with whom Kristof grew up, in rural Yamhill, Oregon. It’s an area that prospered for much of the twentieth century but has been devastated in the last few decades as blue-collar jobs disappeared.

About a quarter of the children on Kristof’s old school bus died in adulthood from drugs, alcohol, suicide, or reckless accidents. While these particular stories unfolded in one corner of the country, they are representative of many places the authors write about, ranging from the Dakotas and Oklahoma to New York and Virginia.

With their superb, nuanced reportage, Kristof and WuDunn have given us a book that is both riveting and impossible to ignore.

Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope cover
Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
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