Advance Reviews and Praise
Steve Almond's Longreads piece, "My Own ‘Bad Story’: I Thought Journalism Would Make a Hero of Me,” was featured on "Great Weekend Reads" curated by POLITICO Playbook
"Can we renew our faith in the basic principles of the Enlightenment — science and reason, liberty and tolerance, the common good? Can we rouse ourselves from the twin spells of cynicism and distraction? Maybe America can be made great again only by facing what we are at our weakest."--LARB | Bad Stories in America: A Conversation Between Steve Almond and William Giraldi
"Staggeringly good. . . . This is straight journalism at it's best."--Betsy Robinson, author of The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg | Notes from a Crusty Seeker
"With the same biting wit that marks Almond’s previous books of social criticism, Against Football (2014), the accomplished fiction writer and journalist aims to decode the social conditions that landed Trump in the White House. . . . Almond holds up literature as a guide through America’s age-old moral dilemmas and finds hope for his country in family, forgiveness, and political resistance."
--Booklist, starred review
"A worthwhile foray into understanding and responding to the Trump era"--Publishers Weekly
"It’s a rare writer who has the power to make one aware in every paragraph of the moral necessity of literature, but in Bad Stories, Steve Almond has done just that. With fierce intelligence, moving candor, and dazzling insight, Almond draws on everything from The Grapes of Wrath to the voting practices of his babysitter to dismantle the false narratives about American democracy that got us into the political pickle we’re in. I was enlightened and spellbound by Bad Stories, outraged and consoled. This is a profound and essential book for all time, but especially for now.”
--Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild
"Steve, I'm sorry but I've completely destroyed my copy of Bad Stories. Seriously, there was something in every chapter that inspired furious underlining or dog-eared pages or the scribbling of hasty notes in the margins. The upside is that I feel like I have a much better grasp of the tortured American psyche. The downside is that I can't loan the book to anyone, because they'll think I'm a madman. Thanks for the thrilling read."
--Nathan Hill, author of The Nix
News and Interviews
"[Steve] Almond is here to help. Wading into the swamp of our contemporary political discourse to sift through the muck of the American mythos, he has emerged with Bad Stories to guide us all toward a more useful approach to the national nightmares we face when we turn on the television these days."--PopMatters | Informed or Inflamed Author Steve Almond Talks About How we Consume Trump
"Trump is the capital city of Bad Stories. But Americans are figuring out that bad stories always lead to bad outcomes. We’re going to start telling better stories—kinder, more hopeful ones. I believe that. I have to, because I’ve got three little kids to look out for."--Miami New Times | With Bad Stories, Steve Almond Explores What the Hell Just Happened to America
"The 2016 election was completely dominated by bad stories—stories that were untrue, irrelevant and intended to sow discord. Those bad stories led to a tragic outcome, as they always do. Soon enough, Trump won’t be president anymore. But unless we understand the bad stories that brought him to power, we’re going to be helpless to guard against the next autocrat."--South Florida Sun Sentinel | This is us: Steve Almond's 'Bad Stories'
"Almond returns time and again to Herman Meville's Moby Dick. . . [He] believes Trump channeled a version of that iconic, festering masculinity, and 'we all got sucked in, like Ishmael.'"--Portland Mercury | Steve Almond: "The Hippies Were Fucking Right"
"I spent the first half of my adult life almost comically devoted to the belief that journalism would preserve American democracy. I still believe in the sacred duties of a free press. But if I’m honest about my own experiences in the field, the lessons that emerge most vividly are these:1. Reporters are no more virtuous than anyone else, and often less so
2. Journalism hardly ever tells the most important stories
3. Even when it does, not much happens"--Longreads | My Own 'Bad Story': I Thought Journalism Would Make a Hero of Me
"Trump may be the most predictable character ever to arise in our public life. To understand what I mean here, it’s useful to consider the two basic types of literary characters E.M. Forster defines in Aspects of the Novel. Round characters are those who confront the dangers of self-revelation and change as a result. Flat characters remain static, incapable of change."--Tin House | Bad Story #5: Trump Was a Change Agent
"As I struggled to make sense of the election, my mind kept spiraling back to one particular scene in American literature: Ahab, perched upon the quarterdeck of the Pequod, a “grand, ungodly, god-like man” . . . . The captain has come to announce the true nature of his mission, which is not economic in nature but deeply personal. He seeks revenge against the leviathan that maimed him and exhorts his crew with a soliloquy Trumpian in pitch if not diction."--Poets & Writers | Bad Story #1: Watergate Was About a Corrupt President
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