Suggested One Read: The Broken Heart of America

The One Read reading panel will be sorting through the many titles that were suggested by our community for One Read 2021 in a few short weeks. Meanwhile, we are highlighting suggested titles so that you can see what others are reading.

The Broken Heart of America book cover

Today’s suggested title was one of the many nonfiction suggestions this year, and it was nominated by three different people. “The Broken Heart of America: St. Louis and the Violent History of the United States” is written by Walter Johnson, who grew up in Columbia and lived in St. Louis before becoming a professor of history and African American studies at Harvard. One nominator described it as “a critical look” at Missouri, St. Louis and local history.

According to another nominator, “The Broken Heart of America sets forth in searing detail how St. Louis and the state of Missouri have been at the heart of so much of the conflict that has defined and shaped America. Johnson explains how America’s westward expansion and its corollary of ‘Indian removal’ were based in St. Louis; how so many of the events leading up to, occurring during, and flowing out of the Civil War were driven by racist policies implemented (and in many cases pioneered) in St. Louis; how St. Louis was key to so many devastating events ranging from the collapse of Reconstruction to the demolition of urban communities as a result of ‘urban renewal;’ and how in recent years the nation’s waves of racism-driven police brutality and protests against racial injustice emanated from the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.”

The third nominator said, “it speaks historically to an issue we are daily grappling with, and Missourians were in the rooms where it all happened …”

We will be posting a new suggested title every Monday, Wednesday and Friday so be sure to check back to see what others in the community are reading. You can learn more about the One Read program here.

 

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