Tightrope

You can now pre-order Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

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The deadline for this exclusive offer is January 13, 2020 at 11:59pm EST.

More about Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope

With stark poignancy and political dispassion, Tightrope draws us deep into an “other America.” The authors tell this story, in part, through the lives of some of the children with whom Kristof grew up, in rural Yamhill, Oregon, an area that prospered for much of the twentieth century but has been devastated in the last few decades as blue-collar jobs disappeared. About one-quarter of the children on Kristof’s old school bus died in adulthood from drugs, alcohol, suicide, or reckless accidents. And while these particular stories unfolded in one corner of the country, they are representative of many places the authors write about, ranging from the Dakotas and Oklahoma to New York and Virginia. But here too are stories about resurgence, among them: Annette Dove, who has devoted her life to helping the teenagers of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, as they navigate the chaotic reality of growing up poor; Daniel McDowell, of Baltimore, whose tale of opioid addiction and recovery suggests that there are viable ways to solve our nation’s drug epidemic. Taken together, these accounts provide a picture of working-class families needlessly but profoundly damaged as a result of decades of policy mistakes. With their superb, nuanced reportage, Kristof and WuDunn have given us a book that is both riveting and impossible to ignore.

“A quarter of the chums Nicholas Kristof rode to school with in the 1970s in sundown rural Yamhill, Oregon, are dead, the authors of this riveting book tell us, from drugs, alcohol, obesity, reckless accidents and suicide. In this deeply empathic, important, and timely book, the authors conceive of such childhood friends and others like them across rural America as unwitting shock absorbers of cruel trends for which we have yet to acknowledge collective responsibility. Read this book and pass it on!”

—Arlie Russell Hochschild, author of Strangers In Their Own Land

"A deft and uniquely credible exploration of rural America, and of other left-behind pockets of our country. One of the most important books I've read on the state of our disunion."

—Tara Westover, author of Educated

This is an unflinching book that illustrates the central, confounding American paradox — in a country that purports to root for the underdog, too often we exalt the rich and we punish the poor. With thorough reporting and extraordinary compassion, Kristof and WuDunn tell the stories of those who fall behind in the world’s wealthiest country, and find not an efficient first-world safety net created by their government, but a patchwork of community initiatives, perpetually underfunded and run by tired saints. And yet amid all the tragedy and neglect, Kristof and WuDunn conjure a picture of how it could all get better, how it could all work. That’s the miracle of Tightrope, and why this is such an indispensable book.”

—Dave Eggers, author of The Captain and the Glory

Nicholas D. Kristof has coauthored several books with his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, including A Path Appears and Half the Sky. Together they were awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1990 for their coverage of China. They also received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Lifetime Achievement in 2009. Now an op-ed columnist for the New York Times, Kristof was previously bureau chief in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Tokyo. He won his second Pulitzer in 2006 for his columns on Darfur.

Sheryl WuDunn has coauthored several books with her husband, Nicholas D. Kristof, including Half the Sky and A Path Appears. Together they were awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1990 for their coverage of China. They also received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Lifetime Achievement in 2009. WuDunn worked at the New York Times as a business editor and foreign correspondent in Tokyo and Beijing. She now works in banking.