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About the Author

Nicholas Dawidoff is the author of four previous critically acclaimed books, including the best-selling The Catcher Was a Spy and The Crowd Sounds Happy. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Civitella Ranieri Fellow, a Berlin Prize Fellow of the American Academy, and an Anschutz Distinguished Fellow mostrar mais at Princeton University, and is now a Branford Fellow at Yale University. A Pulitzer Prize finalist (for The Fly Swatter), Dawidoff is a contributor to The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, and Rolling Stone. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut, with his family. mostrar menos

Obras por Nicholas Dawidoff

Associated Works

The Future Dictionary of America (2004) — Contribuidor — 628 exemplares
Isaac Bashevis Singer: An Album (2004) — Contribuidor — 116 exemplares
The New Great American Writers' Cookbook (2003) — Contribuidor — 21 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum



I was quite disappointed in this. From early on, I could see that Moe Berg was going to be more of an anti-hero than a hero, but the quirky character in the beginning turned into a pathetic loser by the end. I could have done with a lot less of his afterwar activities because, honestly, it was mostly the same stuff over and over in a downward spiral. Plus I found it annoying that his siblings weren't really discussed much until the end of the book. I'm OK with a narrative that isn't completely linear, but it really hurt the flow of the book by introducing it so late. Through the end of the war, I found the book to be dry but interesting. After that, it was dry, sad and disjointed.… (mais)
AliceAnna | 8 outras críticas | Jul 16, 2023 |
A remarkably good job detailing the lives and circumstances of people in New Haven, Connecticut, involved in a murder. Dawidoff provides personal and family histories as a way of illustrating the history of New Haven and its current situation. His empathy extends from teenagers committing crime in their neighborhoods to cops and lawyers who sometimes do them wrong.

I can't recommend this highly enough.
Capybara_99 | 1 outra crítica | Jun 15, 2023 |
This remarkable book tells the story of Newhallville, a dangerous section of New Haven, CT, depressed economically and tired of losing its young men to gun violence, struggling within five miles of the ivory tower privilege of Yale. The author follows Bobby, a teenager who is imprisoned for a murder he did not commit. The victim, Pete, was came up in the Great Migration wave from South Carolina up north to a good paying job in a gun manufacturing plant that eventually closed, devastating the neighborhood. Bobby is put in "the box" (an interrogation room which you'll be sadly familiar with if you watched the TV show Homicide: Life of the Street) and although he had never even touched a gun, he is pressured to sign a confession to Pete’s shot to the head, like the Central Park Five, the young men who eventually told police falsely and under coercion that they had attacked and severely injured a jogger. The author tells us what the community also knows: that the actual murderer was Bobby’s schoolmate, a contract killer named Major, who himself is killed within weeks of Pete's death. Pete's rise and success was almost an object lesson to Bobby's overwhelmed mother and to Major's destructive path after the death of his own mother. Bobby’s lawyer, a bulldog who believed in giving his all to those denied justice, is examined, along with the culpability of the two detectives who ignored physical evidence to pin the crime on Bobby. We stay with Bobby throughout the book and he becomes a heroic figure, for his perseverance and for his ability to regain purpose in prison and beyond. The writer's mission, to examine every side of this troubled and sadly all-too-common situation, is fulfilled by his own diligent detective work and by his outstanding writing. Highly recommended.

Quotes: "The most common true affliction he identified at his school was fear of failure. "You're supposed to learn something but kids couldn't handle failure and they didn't want to be put down. So they shut down in class. Wouldn't participate in school. That started early."

"The repercussions of police illegitimacy meant that even the most diligent and caring police couldn't solve major crimes when communities were disinclined to help them."
… (mais)
1 vote
froxgirl | 1 outra crítica | Nov 8, 2022 |
A strong, conventional ramble through the history of country music. I've always been more into classic rock, but in the last couple of years I've stumbled across a number of great young country musicians (most notably Colter Wall, Charley Crockett, Tyler Childers, Nick Shoulders and Sierra Ferrell) and felt like I didn't know enough about the well they were drawing from. With the notable exception of Johnny Cash, and the occasional Hank Williams song or other country standard covered by a rock band, I didn't know much about country music.

Nicholas Dawidoff's 1997 book In the Country of Country was a useful remedy to this. While of course there is no substitute to listening to the music directly, this book did provide a useful orientation to the genre, particularly the early pioneers like Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family. I learned about the integration of yodelling into country music, the importance of the Grand Ole Opry, and the differences between bluegrass and country (the former is defined by its restrictions (pg. 86); it's what Bill Monroe called "hillbilly jazz" (pg. 109)). Dawidoff wrote when many of these country giants were still alive, and it's a mark very much in favour of his book that he's able to pick the brains of Cash, Monroe, Charlie Louvin and Rose Maddox (among others) directly.

The book does have its disadvantages. Starting out, as the subtitle puts it, as 'a journey to the roots of American music', In the Country of Country soon develops tunnel vision. Initially, as we learn about Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family and Bill Monroe, we get a real sense of how this genre was built, but it all becomes a bit isolated. It's like blues and folk music don't exist here, though in reality the cross-pollination was considerable, and Dawidoff's brief interaction with Bob Dylan reminds us that there's plenty of hinterland here which he hasn't even touched. The second half of the book loses its dynamism, focusing on more contemporary artists in a way that becomes a bit more paint-by-numbers and magazine-profile-like. These later chapters are often colourless, end abruptly, and don't really contribute to our 'journey to the roots of American music'.

That said, In the Country of Country covers many of the relevant bases, and if it can't be said to be an essential book, or even an essential introduction, it's certainly a solid approach. While it's always better to hear a song than read a description of it, this book does communicate some of the real flavour of the genre. Dawidoff addresses, though rarely directly, the central tension in the country-loving community: the battle over authenticity and purity; the earthy, rough music of various regions versus the safe, homogenised 'hat acts' of Nashville. He notes how the music began as "a means of solidarity for people who felt marginalized by American society" but which has since become commodified (pg. 19). We come to realise that the obsession with 'purity' is less to do with gatekeeping and more about a desire to preserve the music's emotional maturity against the assault of tight jeans and songs about pick-up trucks. In the course of his rich but middle-of-the-road journey, Dawidoff reminds us of country's appeal: "This is not music for swinging teens. It's raw stuff for grown-up people who aren't getting any younger and know something about disappointment" (pg. 212).
… (mais)
1 vote
MikeFutcher | 2 outras críticas | Jan 9, 2022 |



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