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Show 7

A country as big, complicated and evolving as the United States is challenging to understand, but journalists Deborah and James Fallows tried like hell to do so in a deep and trenchant way by traversing the country in a single engine plane. On their remarkable journey, they visited a myriad of small towns across the U.S., which became the national bestseller, Our Towns: A 100,000 Mile Journey into the Heart of America.  

 

Speakers

James & Deborah Fallows

For nearly four years, husband and wife journalists Deborah and James Fallows piloted their single-engine propeller plane to small and mid-size towns in America, reporting on innovation of all sorts, which resulted in a national best-selling 2018 book called Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America. As part of the Character of Our Country show, they will share what they learned along the way, ultimately drawing a conclusion that surprises much of the national news audience: “most parts of the United States that we visited have been doing better, in most ways, than most Americans realize.” They found that when you zoom in and spend time at the local level, Americans are actually adapting to life in the 21st century. As a widely published writer and linguist, and a longtime correspondent for the Atlantic Magazine, Deborah and James have decades of experience covering a myriad of topics from all over the world, including being on the ground for the formative years of China’s rise. Our Towns is currently being adapted into a documentary series by HBO.


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Show 9

The effects of music on our lives is hard to put into words, but Sarfraz Manzoor, who was born in Pakistan and raised in Thatcher era England, can tell you exactly what kind of impact one musician – Bruce Springsteen – had on his once wayward life. Manzoor’s book about The Boss, Greetings from Bury Park, was adapted into a film called Blinded by the Light, which was a breakout hit at Sundance 2019. Singer-songwriter Bhi Bhiman wanted to go beyond the album so he published his latest work as a podcast, creating a new hybrid of recording. Studio ChromaSonic is working to see how music and sound, interacting intentionally with light can happily and healthily mess with our minds.

 

Speakers

Sarfraz Manzoor

Sarfraz Manzoor was born in Pakistan but grew up in Margaret Thatcher’s England, which provided a variety of challenges for a young, alienated teenager until he found the music of Bruce Springsteen. Manzoor will speak at Original Thinkers as part of our show, What Does Music Really Do to Us? about the impact of the Boss’s music on his once wayward life. He will draw from his memoir, Greetings from Bury Park, as well as a new feature film he wrote called Blinded by the Light, which was a sensation at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.


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