The Couple Who Went Searching for America’s Future in Its Small Towns

James Fallows and Deborah Fallows Logged 100,000 Miles Through a Nation Divided Politically but Cooperating Locally

The mass-media storyline is that America is a country split between prosperous liberal coastal elites and struggling, resentful conservative heartlanders, spewing vitriol at each other across an unbridgeable partisan gulf.

But don’t tell that to James Fallows and Deborah Fallows. In their just-published book, Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America, the couple lay out a road map of a much more complex, contradictory, and hopeful nation, where residents of a number of small towns and mid-size cities are working together to solve civic problems and improve their …

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How Badly Must Artists Behave Before We Can Dismiss Their Great Art?

Critics and Scholars Wrestle With How to Appreciate Creative Masterworks by Flawed Human Beings

Leni Riefenstahl and D.W. Griffith were cinematic geniuses who churned out racist propaganda. The Renaissance master Caravaggio was a murderous rogue. Then there’s the growing list of Hollywood auteurs and …

For the Ancients, and for Us, Sustainability Could Be a Civic Virtue

Past Civilizations Knew Their Natural Limits—and the Perils of Abusing the Planet for Personal Gain

The Romans built aqueducts to carry water across continents, the Aztecs perfected aqua-culture gardening, and the 6th-century cisterns of Byzantium still flow beneath the streets of modern-day Istanbul.

Some antique civilizations …

The U.S. Could Become a Casualty of Its Trade War With China

America Is Fighting To Prop up Fading Industries When It Should Be Protecting Intellectual Property Instead

Are the United States and China in a trade war? If they are, who’s winning, who’s losing, and what will be the economic and political fallout in the years to …

How Black Panther Points to a More Enlightened Hollywood Future

The Mega-Hit Will Inspire More Inclusion If the Industry Internalizes Its Many Lessons

The global success of, and acclaim for, the film Black Panther reflect greater inclusiveness and openness to different stories within Hollywood—and could inspire even more changes within the industry.

That was …

Is It Time to Reinvent Democracy Again?

As Self-Government Advances Globally, Our Culture of Citizenship Is Retreating Locally

From a historical and global perspective, democracy is more of a force than it ever has been. But when you examine country by country, and government by government, there’s ample …