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An American Dreamer : life in a divided country - David Finkel

An American Dreamer

life in a divided country

By: David Finkel

Paperback | 27 February 2024

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A man navigates the deep divisions in America today and discovers that sometimes change can start by finding common ground with your neighbours, in this immersive account by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Thank You for Your Service and The Good Soldiers.

As this powerful book begins, Brent Cummings finds himself coping with the feeling that the country he loves is fracturing in front of his eyes. An Iraq war veteran, raised to believe in a vision of America that values fairness, honesty, and respect, Cummings is increasingly surprised by the behaviour and beliefs of others, and engulfed by the fear, anger, and confusion that are sweeping through his beloved country as he tries to hold on to his values and his hope for America's future.

David Finkel, known for his unique, in-depth reporting, spent fourteen years inside Brent Cummings's world to create this intimate and vivid portrait of a man's life - his work, family, community, and thoughts - and his quest for connection as America becomes ever more divided. Cummings was one of the unforgettable figures in Finkel's The Good Soldiers, a book about which The New York Times stated, 'Finkel has made art out of a defining moment in history. You will be able to take this book down from the shelf years from now, and say- This is what happened. This is what it felt like.

An American Dreamer illuminates, with profound empathy, the feelings and lives of many people in America today. It is a brilliant chronicle of one person's everyday experiences of frustration, confusion, and hope.


'Brilliantly reported and staggeringly important, An American Dreamer delivers a gripping story that is as illuminating and poignant as it is a punch in the gut.'
-Beth Macy, New York Times bestselling author of Dopesick

'In a lovely Atlanta suburb, two neighbours, both decent yet damaged men, find themselves on opposite sides of the fault line in a fracturing America. Finkel's account is poetic, profound and irresistibly page turning. It's The White Album for a new decade of division and dissolution.'
-Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Horse

'With An American Dreamer, David Finkel offers a third instalment on the story he began with The Good Soldiers and continued in Thank You for Your Service, and, as with those previous books, I was gutted, heartened, and grateful all over again. Gutted by the incalculable costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, both to the millions of individual combat soldiers and their families, as well as to the country as a whole; heartened by the basic human decency of so many of the people Finkel portrays; and, finally, grateful for the essential stories he tells in An American Dreamer. For anyone hoping to understand what has become of America these past twenty years, An American Dreamer and its companion books are indispensable.'
-Ben Fountain, bestselling author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

About the Author

David Finkel is the author of The Good Soldiers, the bestselling, critically acclaimed account of the US ‘surge’ during the Iraq War and a New York Times Best Book of the Year.

An editor and writer for The Washington Post, Finkel has reported from Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, and across the United States, and has covered wars in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Among Finkel’s honours are a Pulitzer Prize in 2006 and a MacArthur Foundation ‘genius’ grant in 2012. He lives in the Washington, DC, area.

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