Notes from No Man's Land by Eula Biss
American Essays

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Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism
Winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize

A frank and fascinating exploration of race and racial identity

Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays begins with a series of lynchings and ends with a series of apologies. Eula Biss explores race in America and her response to the topic is informed by the experiences chronicled in these essays -- teaching in a Harlem school on the morning of 9/11, reporting for an African American newspaper in San Diego, watching the aftermath of Katrina from a college town in Iowa, and settling in Chicago’s most diverse neighborhood. 

As Biss moves across the country from New York to California to the Midwest, her essays move across time from biblical Babylon to the freedman’s schools of Reconstruction to a Jim Crow mining town to post-war white flight.  She brings an eclectic education to the page, drawing variously on the Eagles, Laura Ingalls Wilder, James Baldwin, Alexander Graham Bell, Joan Didion, religious pamphlets, and reality television shows.

These spare, sometimes lyric essays explore the legacy of race in America, artfully revealing in intimate detail how families, schools, and neighborhoods participate in preserving racial privilege.  Faced with a disturbing past and an unsettling present, Biss still remains hopeful about the possibilities of American diversity, “not the sun-shininess of it, or the quota-making politics of it, but the real complexity of it.”

About Eula Biss

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EULA BISS is the author of The Balloonists. She teaches nonfiction writing at Northwestern University and is co-editor of Essay Press. Her essays have appeared in Harper’s and The Believer. She lives in Chicago.
Published March 1, 2011 by Graywolf Press. 245 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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The author combines her own experiences with bits of history, literature, current events and sociological studies to present a bleak portrait of U.S. race relations.

Feb 27 2009 | Read Full Review of Notes from No Man's Land: Ame...

The Christian Century

Among other things, the essayist .

Jun 23 2010 | Read Full Review of Notes from No Man's Land: Ame...

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