Francesco Duina

 

On his book Broke and Patriotic: Why Poor Americans Love Their Country

Cover Interview of March 25, 2018

A close-up

I would hope that readers open the book precisely at the first page of Chapter 1, where we hear Eddy’s thoughts (all names have been disguised, to protect anonymity), an African-American man in Alabama who was once a very promising young student but then fell on hard times. He reflects on the great promise of America. In chapters 4, 5, and 6, we hear about the three major narratives I encountered: hope, richness, and freedom. This is also where the reader encounters the humanity, optimism, thoughtfulness, fragility, and stories of suffering and painful personal missteps of the respondents. It is where we realize that everyone holds on to certain stories and myths, that we all need meaning in our lives, that we all entertain contradictions in our minds, and that life can be at once very unfair and inspiring.