“In 1936, Pozner travelled to the United States and wrote about what he found. The result is this brimming book of reportage, a cross between Studs Terkel and the New Journalism written years before either came around.”—The New Yorker
“By dint of names, dates, and figures, of classified ads, of sundry facts, of statistics, of the confessions of great writers and of anonymous passersby, of quotations from small-town newspapers and from official discourses, Vladimir Pozner reconstructs, vibrantly, so terribly vibrantly and magnificently, the American civilization.”—Les Lettres Françaises
“1936 was a hell of a year. James Agee living with cotton tenant farmers in Alabama for what became Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Louis Adamic toiling away on his epic, My America. John Dos Passos publishing Big Money, the last in his American trilogy series. And Vladimir Pozner working on The Disunited States. Pozner is a missing link in this body of vital literary documentation centered around that most amazing year in American history. But The Disunited States is not about a year or a nation frozen in time. It speaks to us today.”—Dale Maharidge, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning And Their Children After Them.
“The book’s style and structure are prescient, displaying an artistic sensibility that would not emerge as a movement until New Journalism appeared in the ’60s and ’70s. By transforming interviews into narrative form, interspersing third-party texts throughout his own, and endowing his subjects’ words with a poetic resonance, Pozner not only provides a compelling historical snapshot, but also a visceral and moving reading experience.”—Patrick Glennon, Truthout
“Translated into English for the first time, this outsider’s lyrical and perceptive portrait of America in the 1930s is an unearthed treasure. Pozner, a French novelist and screenwriter, captures the essence of a nation of contradictions at a moment of economic and spiritual crisis uncannily reminiscent of our times. Much of the book – including the extraordinary tour-de-force that is the first chapter – is drawn from local newspaper accounts. At times, the distance between our lives and those Pozner describes seems to dissolve, and we’re suddenly face to face with real human beings whose hopes and heartbreaks are strangely close to us.”—Plough