Paying Attention in Americaby Ethan Casey
At the end of Home Free: An American Road Trip (2013), the account of his 3 1/2-month, 18,000-mile driving trip around the contiguous United States during and after the 2012 presidential election, Ethan Casey wrote:
One of the motivating premises of my project had been that America was not separate or different from the rest of the world. I had proven that, at least to my own satisfaction. And I had seen for myself that while the United States, plural, might be in some sense a single country, they are also an archipelago of disparate communities. Whether the center would hold was an open question.
Casey proceeded to explore that open question in a series of essays and speeches written and delivered between 2013 and 2017. With titles like “Who Serves America?”, “Who Is at War with Whom, and Why?” and – provocatively – “What It Means to Be White in America,” the essays constitute one writer’s rolling, episodic response to America’s unfolding crisis. The book’s centerpiece is an eight-part chain of short essays with the overall title “America: Now What?”, composed as events unfolded during the crucial period between February and April 2016.
Several chapters of Paying Attention in America can be read free of charge online:
- “Why Bother Trying to Change the World?” (University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, October 2014)
- “Pakistan in the Sea of Narrative” (Library of Congress, November 2015)
- “Who Is at War with Whom, and Why?” (essay, December 2015)
- “What It Means to Be White in America” (August 2016)
- “What ‘Vietnam’ Did to America” (TCU, September 2016)
- “What Can I Say?: In Search of Starting Points and New Words” (essay, November 2016)
- “Our Tasks at Hand” (Communities Rising, Seattle, May 2017)
- “Paying Attention in America” (essay, November 2017)
- “The Politics of Paying Attention” (International Academy of Letters USA, Houston, December 2017)
America: Now What? and Other Questions will be published soon as a printed book. You can support its publication by pre-purchasing your copy now for $14.95 plus $3.95 shipping. Blue Ear Books will send you a complimentary copy of Home Free: An American Road Trip as a special thank-you gift for your support.
Pre-purchase America: Now What? and Other Questions for $14.95 plus $3.95 shipping and receive a complimentary copy of Home Free: An American Road Trip: