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New Yorker writer William Finnegan spent time with families in four communities across America and became an intimate observer of the lives he reveals in these beautifully rendered portraits: a fifteen-year-old drug dealer in blighted New Haven, Connecticut; a sleepy Texas town transformed by crack; Mexican American teenagers in Washington State, unable to relate to their immigrant parents and trying to find an identity in gangs; jobless young white supremacists in a downwardly mobile L.A. suburb. Important, powerful, and compassionate, Cold New World gives us an unforgettable look into a present that presages our future. A New York Times Notable Book of the YearA Los Angeles Times Best Nonfiction of 1998 selectionOne of the Voice Literary Supplement's Twenty-five Favorite Books of 1998
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About the Author

William Finnegan is the author of Cold New World, A Complicated War, Dateline Soweto, Crossing the Line, and Barbarian Days. He has twice been a National Magazine Award finalist and has won numerous journalism awards, including two Overseas Press Club awards since 2009. Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life received the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Autobiography. A staff writer at The New Yorker since 1987, he lives in Manhattan.


"A gripping narrative . . . Finnegan's real achievement is to attach identities to the steady stream of faceless statistics that tell us America's social problems are more serious than we want to believe."--The Washington Post "Finnegan's book, a status report on the American Dream, gets its power the way a good novel does: from sheer story--the unpredictable, rich specifics of people's lives. Alas, every syllable of the book rings true."--Time "[Finnegan's] stories do not concern a trial of the century, a perfect storm or the ascent of a tall mountain. Instead, they are about powerless people left battered and grounded by an economy that may be richly rewarding the educated, but is cruelly punishing many others. . . . The cumulative effect is to create an unusual kind of sympathy for the characters he describes. It's not the stereotypical liberal sense of pity. Rather, Finnegan convincingly connects the wayward events in these people's lives to the messages and forces they detect around them."--The New York Times Book Review "Unlike most journalists who drop in for a quick interview and fly back out again, Finnegan spent many weeks with families in each community over a period of several years, enough time to distinguish between the kind of short-term problems that can beset anyone and the longer-term systemic poverty and social disintegration that can pound an entire generation into a groove of despair."--Los Angeles Times Book Review "The most remarkable of William Finnegan's many literary gifts is his compassion. Not the fact of it, which we have a right to expect from any personal reporting about the oppressed, but its coolness, its clarity, its ductile strength. . . . Finnegan writes like a dream. His prose is unfailingly lucid, graceful, and specific, his characterization effortless, and the pull of his narrative pure seduction."--The Village Voice "Cold New World is a sustained and unflinching look into the lives of young Americans who live in poverty of varying kinds: economic, social, intellectual, spiritual. . . . Part of the appeal of this gathering of life-portraits and firsthand revelations is that Finnegan can so adroitly place himself in the center of Cold New World as its brooding conscience-stricken, and culturally privileged witness even as he allows his subjects the full range of their mercurial humanity. Despite its pessimism, Cold New World is brimming with a quickened, heated life and surprises of the sort adolescents invariably provide their astonished elders."--Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Review of Books "Four astonishingly intimate and evocative portraits. . . . All of these stories are vividly, honestly and compassionately told. . . . While Cold New World may make us look in new ways at our young people, perhaps its real goal is to make us look at ourselves."--The Philadelphia Inquirer "Finnegan is our Alexis de Tocqueville, teaching us locals something new about ourselves and our community by telling us the enduring human stories that defy stereotypes."--New Haven Advocate "This book should be read by every parent. It should be read by every voter. It should be read and memorized by every policy-, aler/ Read it now, or live it later."--The San Diego Union-Tribune "A beautifully written but sobering book . . . bringing a historical and generational weight of detail to [its] chapters that reminds one of J. Anthony Lukas' best journalism."--San Francisco Chronicle Book Review "For years, Bill Finnegan, a masterful reporter, has immersed himself in the world of the young and the lost. The reports he brings from four corners of the country, four desperate corners, will tell you more about the drug problem and more about what ails America than any other book I know of. Cold New World is chilling and dark, but it also vibrates with life."--David Remnick

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