Virtual Event: Adam Serwer
The Cruelty Is the Point:
The Past, Present, and Future of Trump's America
in conversation with IBRAM X. KENDI
July 19, 2021
7:00 PM ET
Join this virtual event by purchasing a ticket through Eventbrite
Harvard Book Store welcomes award-winning journalist and Atlantic staff writer ADAM SERWER for a discussion of his highly anticipated book, The Cruelty Is the Point: The Past, Present, and Future of Trump's America. He will be joined in conversation by celebrated writer, professor, and antiracist activist IBRAM X. KENDI, author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America and How to Be an Antiracist. This event is co-presented by our bookseller partners Politics and Prose, Books & Books, and Community Bookstore.
There are two ticket options available for this event.
Admission Ticket - $33.25: Includes one admission link and one copy of The Cruelty Is the Point. US shipping also included. Books will be shipped to ticket-holders following the event. Please note: we are unable to ship internationally.
Admission Ticket - $5.00: Includes one admission link and a $5 coupon toward a purchase on harvard.com, emailed to you following the event.
About The Cruelty Is the Point
“Trump summoned the most treacherous forces in American history and conducted them with the ease of a grand maestro.”
Like many of us, Adam Serwer didn’t know that Donald Trump would win the 2016 election. But over the four years that followed, the Atlantic staff writer became one of our most astute analysts of the Trump presidency and the volatile powers it harnessed. The shock that greeted Trump’s victory, and the subsequent cruelty of his presidency, represented a failure to confront elements of the American past long thought vanquished.
In this searing collection, Serwer chronicles the Trump administration not as an aberration but as an outgrowth of the inequalities the United States was founded on. Serwer is less interested in the presidential spectacle than in the ideological and structural currents behind Trump’s rise—including a media that was often blindsided by the ugly realities of what the administration represented and how it came to be.
While deeply engaged with the moment, Serwer’s writing is also haunted by ghosts of an unresolved American past, a past that torments the present. In bracing new essays and previously published works, he explores white nationalism, myths about migration, the political power of police unions, and the many faces of anti-Semitism. For all the dynamics he examines, cruelty is the glue, the binding agent of a movement fueled by fear and exclusion. Serwer argues that rather than pretending these four years didn’t happen or dismissing them as a brief moment of madness, we must face what made them possible. Without acknowledging and confronting these toxic legacies, the fragile dream of American multiracial democracy will remain vulnerable to another ambitious demagogue.
Praise for The Cruelty Is the Point
“Serwer’s writing has been indispensable to understanding the chaotic world around us. Incisive, elegant, and deeply anchored in history, The Cruelty Is the Point is an essential guide to a perilous time in American life.” —Jelani Cobb, New Yorker contributor and author of The Substance of Hope
“Adam Server is the most incisive political writer of our time.” —Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy
“The essays in The Cruelty Is the Point combine an unsparing accounting of our history with an astute examination of our present.” —Wesley Lowery, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author of They Can’t Kill Us All
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