The Disunited States

The Disunited States


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Influential French novelist, screenwriter, pioneer in literary genre and Oscar nominee Vladimir Pozner came to the United States in the 1930s. He found the nation and its people in a state of profound material and spiritual crisis, and took it upon himself to chronicle the life of the worker, the striker, the politician, the starlet, the gangster, the everyman; to document the bitter, violent racism tearing our society asunder, the overwhelming despair permeating everyday life, and the unyielding human struggle against all that. Pozner writes about America and Americans with the searing criticism and deep compassion of an outsider who loves the country and its people far too much to render anything less than a brutally honest portrayal. Recalling Agee’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, Pozner shatters the rules of reportage to create a complete enduring and profound portrait.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781609805319
Publisher: Seven Stories Press
Publication date: 08/26/2014
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

VLADIMIR POZNER (1905–1992) was a French writer of Russian descent, whose prestigious career as a novelist took off in the 1930s with the publication of Tolstoï est Mort (Tolstoy is Dead) and Les mors aux dents (published in English as Bloody Baron: The Story of Ungern-Sternberg). A militant antifascist who took refuge in the U.S. during the war, Pozner worked as a Hollywood screenwriter, eventually befriending Bertolt Brecht and Charlie Chaplin, and writing the Oscar-winning script for The Dark Mirror, a film noir crime drama. Backpacker, raconteur, and pioneer of literary styles, Pozner dedicated his life to giving a testimony of his times. 

ALISON L. STRAYER is a Canadian writer and translator, author of Jardin et prairie, a novel, and numerous literary essays, articles, and stories. She lives in Paris and recently completed a novel in English.

Read an Excerpt

In a cornfield in Summerville, West Virginia, the fourth crop has just been harvested. All around Gauley Bridge, earth was amply repaid with cadavers for the silica the men extracted; in the end, the dead, too, were just a byproduct of tunnel construction. There are new crosses in cemeteries in Pennsylvania and Ohio, Maryland and Delaware, but especially the southern states: Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Virginia, and the Carolinas. The last survivors of the two thousand tunnel builders are waiting their turn. They have lost half their body weight and move with great difficulty, scarcely able to breathe. At the bottom of the mine or the corner of a street, in a hospital bed or a cotton field, down to the last man they will strangle to death, and if we think of opening their chests, their lungs will appear compacted, petrified blocks of tumor and silica, Gauley Bridge tunnel silica.

That’s it for the men.

Now tell me if anyone in the world has shown more interest in the human race and the problems of the individual than the American businessman.

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