A Colony in a Nation by Chris Hayes

78%

6 Critic Reviews

The author also ties in the related problem of our status as the most incarcerated nation in the world and why this punitive system is ineffective. This is an important, persuasive book that, if read, can help Americans begin to heal the divide between these two nations.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

New York Times best-selling author and Emmy Award–winning news anchor Chris Hayes argues that there are really two Americas: a Colony and a Nation.


America likes to tell itself that it inhabits a postracial world, yet nearly every empirical measure—wealth, unemployment, incarceration, school segregation—reveals that racial inequality has barely improved since 1968, when Richard Nixon became our first “law and order” president. With the clarity and originality that distinguished his prescient bestseller, Twilight of the Elites, Chris Hayes upends our national conversation on policing and democracy in a book of wide-ranging historical, social, and political analysis.


Hayes contends our country has fractured in two: the Colony and the Nation. In the Nation, we venerate the law. In the Colony, we obsess over order, fear trumps civil rights, and aggressive policing resembles occupation. A Colony in a Nation explains how a country founded on justice now looks like something uncomfortably close to a police state. How and why did Americans build a system where conditions in Ferguson and West Baltimore mirror those that sparked the American Revolution?


A Colony in a Nation examines the surge in crime that began in the 1960s and peaked in the 1990s, and the unprecedented decline that followed. Drawing on close-hand reporting at flashpoints of racial conflict, as well as deeply personal experiences with policing, Hayes explores cultural touchstones, from the influential “broken windows” theory to the “squeegee men” of late-1980s Manhattan, to show how fear causes us to make dangerous and unfortunate choices, both in our society and at the personal level. With great empathy, he seeks to understand the challenges of policing communities haunted by the omnipresent threat of guns. Most important, he shows that a more democratic and sympathetic justice system already exists—in a place we least suspect.


A Colony in a Nation is an essential book—searing and insightful—that will reframe our thinking about law and order in the years to come.

 

About Chris Hayes

See more books from this Author
Christopher Hayes is Editor at Large of The Nation and host of Up w/ Chris Hayes on MSNBC. From 2010 to 2011, he was a fellow at Harvard University's Edmond J Safra Foundation Center for Ethics. His essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Time, The American Prospect, The New Republic, The Washington Monthly, and The Guardian. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife Kate and daughter Ryan.
 
Published March 21, 2017 by W. W. Norton & Company. 256 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Apr 09 2017
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for A Colony in a Nation
All: 6 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Good
on Dec 14 2016

Arguing for the erasure of borders between Nation and Colony, Hayes admits, regretfully, that such change might fundamentally alter the comfortable sense of order that he, and other members of the Nation, prizes. A timely and impassioned argument for social justice.

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on Jan 06 2017

The author also ties in the related problem of our status as the most incarcerated nation in the world and why this punitive system is ineffective. This is an important, persuasive book that, if read, can help Americans begin to heal the divide between these two nations.

Read Full Review of A Colony in a Nation | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Basil Smilke Jr. on Apr 26 2017

For colonies within the nation to exist, the perception must endure. Legal, economic and educational barriers need to be fortified. Intended or not, Hayes’ implication is disconcerting: The colonies are necessary to strengthen the nation’s sense of purpose and identity.

Read Full Review of A Colony in a Nation | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Christian Science Monitor

Good
Reviewed by Nick Romeo on Mar 21 2017

Hayes is a forceful and eloquent writer, and this book deserves close attention by a broad readership. He offers a clear and useful framework for understanding the current dysfunctions of American society.

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Salon

Above average
Reviewed by MATTHEW PULVER on Mar 25 2017

...it can certainly be said that Hayes’ second book is less optimistic than his first, which saw the green shoots of Occupy Wall Street as a productive reaction on the left to the American crisis of authority he identified. “A Colony in a Nation” is published in the first turbulent and unsure days of the Trump era...

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https://www.booklistonline.com

Good
Reviewed by Carol Haggas on Feb 01 2017

Writing with clarity, intelligence, and compassion, Hayes deftly illuminates the complex state of affairs that has evolved since the 1960s civil rights protests, and resulted in the current backlash.

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Reader Rating for A Colony in a Nation
79%

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