Borchardt Agency
Published by
Counterpoint (2022-01-18)
Original language
Literary essays


Meditations on American Memory

by Brooks, Colette

For readers of Rebecca Solnit and Jenny Odell, this poetic and inventive blend of history, memoir, and visual essay reflects on how we can resist the erasure of our collective memory in this American century.

Our sense of our history requires us to recall the details of time, of experiences that help us find our place in the world together and encourage us in the search for our individual identities. When we lose sight of the past, our ability to see ourselves and to understand one another is diminished.

In this book, Colette Brooks explores how some of the more forgotten aspects of recent American experiences explain our challenging and often puzzling present. Through intimate and meticulously researched retellings of individual stories of violence, misfortune, chaos, and persistence - from the first mass shooting in America from the tower at the University of Texas, the televised assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald, life with nuclear bombs and the Doomsday Clock, obsessive diarists and round-the-clock surveillance, to pandemics and COVID-19 - Brooks is able to reframe our country's narratives with new insight to create a prismatic account of how efforts to reclaim the past can be redemptive, freeing us from the tyranny of the present moment.

COLETTE BROOKS has published two books and many literary essays. Her first book, In the City: Random Acts of Awareness, won a PEN/Jerard Fund Award for a distinguished work of nonfiction. Her second book, Lost in Wonder: Imagining Science and Other Mysteries, was a finalist for the Grub Street National Book Prize in nonfiction.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Sebastian Ritscher

Available View on Rightsdesk


Brooks is paying her respects to fleeting but meaningful episodes in our history, pushing back against our culture's waves of forgetting... By preserving the capacity to be surprised, she concludes, we may be more open to keeping memory alive... [Brooks] has done just this.

Review: Washington Post

This is a sophisticated, thoughtful collection that should be read with the kind of care that Brooks instilled into each provocative essay.

Review: Booklist

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