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The John Edgar Wideman Experience: His Latest

Celebrating 50 Years of Publishing By a Great American Author

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Background image above is a detail from a photo of the 76 Hamilton trolley, which served Homewood. Photo by David Wilson, 1968. CC BY 2.0. Wikimedia Commons

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The Latest from John Edgar Wideman

American Histories cover artIn this singular collection, John Edgar Wideman, the acclaimed author of Writing to Save a Life, blends the personal, historical, and political to invent complex, charged stories about love, death, struggle, and what we owe each other. With characters ranging from everyday Americans to Jean-Michel Basquiat to Nat Turner, American Histories is a journey through time, experience, and the soul of our country.

“JB & FD” reimagines conversations between John Brown, the antislavery crusader who famously raided Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, and Frederick Douglass, the abolitionist and orator, conversations that belie the myth of race and produce a fantastical, ethically rich correspondence that spans years and ideologies. “Maps and Ledgers” eavesdrops on a brother and sister today as they ponder their father’s killing of another man. “Williamsburg Bridge” sits inside a man sitting on a bridge who contemplates his life before he decides to jump. “My Dead” is a story about how the already-departed demand more time, more space in the lives of those who survive them.

Navigating an extraordinary range of subject and tone, Wideman challenges the boundaries of traditional forms, and delivers unforgettable, immersive narratives that touch the very core of what it means to be alive. An extended meditation on family, history, and loss, American Histories weaves together historical fact, philosophical wisdom, and deeply personal vignettes. More than the sum of its parts, this is Wideman at his best—emotionally precise and intellectually stimulating—an extraordinary collection by a master.


"Wideman . . . boldly subverts what a short story can be in this wonderful collection. . . . Each story feels new, challenging, and exhilarating, beguilingly combining American history with personal history."Publishers Weekly, starred review

From the Kirkus Review, January 23, 2018

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This book is available at the Gumberg Library

Call number: PS3573.I26 A6 2018, 2nd Floor (Click the call number to see if it is available)

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