Your Neighbors Can Help You Battle Adversity and Disaster

Zócalo's First Book Prize Winner Reflects on the Power of the People Nearby to Ease Both Pandemics and Politics

My book, In the Neighborhood, published 10 years ago this spring, asked how Americans live as neighbors—and what we lose when the people next door are strangers.

These questions are just as timely today. Not only is the country dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is also facing a political crisis. And on top of these global and national issues, there are often painful personal matters, such as the sort of health crisis that my own family recently experienced. In each instance, neighborhoods have a critical role to play …

Mexico’s ’85 Earthquake Didn’t Start a Revolution

And Neither Will the 2017 Tremor—Unless Public Disillusionment Erupts

Can the shaking of earthquakes upend political power?

This question often has been answered by referencing Mexico. Political scientists often link Mexico City’s devastating 8.0 magnitude earthquake on September 19, 1985, …

The 1938 Hurricane That Revived New England’s Fall Colors

An Epic Natural Disaster Restored the Forest of an Earlier America

This morning, while driving in central Vermont, listening to the latest news about hurricanes in Florida and Texas, I caught up with my first leaf peeper of the season. …

News Junkies Get Traumatized, Too

Even If You Watch From Thousands of Miles Away, Events Like the Boston Marathon Bombings and 9/11 Can Be Bad For Your Health

On September 11, 2001, I was in sub-Saharan Africa with limited access to news and television. When I visited a home with a working TV that afternoon, I saw a …

Why I Put Up With Tornadoes

My Pocket of Oklahoma Can Be Dangerous. But You Couldn’t Wish For Better Neighbors.

When my parents died, my husband and I bought their house in Norman, Oklahoma and moved in. It’s the very same house they built in 1952 in anticipation of adding …