Adam Serwer: The Cruelty Is the Point
The Atlantic's Adam Serwer's unique approach to writing—combining political analysis of current events with a strong grasp of the historical antecedents that made those events possible—made him an indispensable writer during the Trump years, particularly for those who disagreed with the politics and approach to governance taken by the 45th president of the United States. Serwer coined the phase "the cruelty is the point" to describe how the Trump administration had made cruelty not merely an unfortunate byproduct of its efforts but the central theme of the MAGA approach toward governance and American civic life.
Serwer's new book—a collection of new and old essays—explores the the Trump presidency, the volatile powers it harnessed, and the continuing impact it has on the country's politics and the Republican Party. With his unique approach, Serwer chronicles the Trump administration not as an aberration but as an outgrowth of the inequalities the United States was founded on. He charts he ideological and structural currents behind Trump’s rise and why he remains so potent today.
The new essays and previously published works in this book explore white nationalism, myths about migration, the political power of police unions, and the many faces of anti-Semitism. For all the issues he examines, cruelty is the glue, the binding agent of a movement fueled by fear and exclusion. Serwer argues that rather than pretending these four years didn’t happen or dismissing them as a brief moment of madness, we must face what made them possible.
Please join us for an important conversation on the legacy of the Trump administration and why Serwer believes we must continue to understand its role in American political life.
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This is an online-only program; please pre-register to receive a link to the live-stream event.
Copies of The Cruelty is the Point are available for purchase at checkout (U.S. domestic shipping only); our thanks to Marcus Books in Oakland for fulfilling book orders.
Photo by Shorenstein Center, Harvard University.
5–6 p.m. (Pacific Time) program