Author Bradlee Jr. to appear at Wilkes-Barre Twp. Barnes & Noble on Oct. 10

By Bill O’Boyle - [email protected]
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WILKES-BARRE TWP. — Luzerne County is about to get another 15 minutes of fame when Ben Bradlee Jr.’s new book — “The Forgotten — is released next week.

Bradlee Jr., son of famed Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee Sr., will be at the Barnes & Noble temporary location at 250 East End Centre on Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m. for a book signing and panel discussion. Following the discussion, Bradlee will take questions from the audience.

The extended title of Bradlee’s book is “The Forgotten — How the People of One Pennsylvania County Elected Donald Trump and Changed America.”

That one Pennsylvania county is Luzerne County, a largely Democratic county that “flipped” for Republican Trump in the 2016 presidential election, catapulting him, many believe (including Bradlee), to the White House.

According to a news release from Barnes & Noble, in “The Forgotten,” Bradlee reports on how voters in Luzerne County “came to feel like strangers in their own land — marginalized by flat or falling wages, rapid demographic change, and a liberal culture that mocks their faith and patriotism.”

The release goes on to say, “Fundamentally rural and struggling with changing demographics and limited opportunity, Luzerne County can be seen as a microcosm of the nation. In ‘The Forgotten,’ Trump voters speak for themselves, explaining how they felt others were ‘cutting in line’ and that the federal government was taking too much money from the employed and giving it to the idle.

“The loss of breadwinner status, and more importantly, the loss of dignity, primed them for a candidate like Donald Trump. The political facts of a divided America are stark, but the stories of the men, women and families in ‘The Forgotten’ offer a kaleidoscopic and fascinating portrait of the complex on-the-ground political reality of America today.”

Books go on sale on Tuesday, Oct. 2, at 9 a.m. at Barnes & Noble. Customers can reserve copies by visiting the store, or by calling 570-846-6422.

Visit to WB

Bradlee visited Wilkes-Barre on April 14, 2017, and had lunch at Rodano’s on Public Square with two representatives of the Times Leader. Bradlee said his book would be a sociological history, exploring why and how voters stunned the world by electing who they did and how America is changing as a result.

And, he said, Luzerne County would be the main focus.

At the time, Bradlee said he had spent about three weeks in Luzerne County and he had interviewed 50 people, but he planned to spend much more time here talking to more voters.

“I’ve found the folks here to be friendly, frank and revealing about their reasons for supporting Trump,” Bradlee said over lunch. “I’m excited about using the county as a window into what happened and why in (2016’s) historic election.”

Trump trounced Hillary Clinton in Luzerne County by 26,237 votes — a 20-point win which provided Trump nearly 60 percent of his victory margin in Pennsylvania.

“It is not a stretch to say that Luzerne County won Trump Pennsylvania — and perhaps the presidency, to the extent the state’s demographics and voting patterns were similar to those in Michigan and Wisconsin, the other two states on which the election turned,” Bradlee said.

Bradlee said while millions of Americans greeted Trump’s election with shock and confusion, for millions of others he offered solutions to problems that had worried them for decades — under-employment, illegal immigration, globalization, excessive government regulation, and the demise of traditional manufacturing jobs.

Testimonials

• Seymour M. Hersh, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter — “This is a book that should be absorbed by the millions of Democrats who still cannot understand how Donald Trump won in 2016. Bradlee did what the brightest editors in New York and California did not assign their reporters to do — he spent months talking to white working class Americans in a rural county in Pennsylvania — a nominally blue state — and learned the hard way, on the job, that Trump was a far more viable candidate than the elite thought. This is a real reporter’s book.”

• George F. Will, Washington Post and syndicated columnist — “Pennsylvania has long fancied itself ‘the Keystone State’ — the piece that holds together the arch of the nation. In 2016, when the nation came apart in disturbing ways, this state’s role was especially revealing. Ben Bradlee Jr.’s meticulous reporting illuminates the riveting story of how people who felt forgotten discovered how to get the nation’s attention.”

• Kirkus Reviews — “As Bradlee relates the findings from his in-depth conversations with Luzerne voters, he avoids stereotypes and pat answers…fascinating.”

• Douglas Brinkley, historian and professor of History at Rice University — “Ben Bradlee’s ‘The Forgotten’ is an eye-opening look at the American electorate in the Age of Trump. By honing in on a singular Pennsylvania county, Bradlee brilliantly dissects the myriad of reasons behind our Great Political Divide. A must read.”

• Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation — “’The Forgotten’ is a riveting and empathetic portrait of a cross-section of (mostly disillusioned) people of Luzerne County, Pa., which arguably gave Trump that state — and the presidency. As we near the 2018 midterms, which will largely be a referendum on the Trump Presidency and the future of our nation, Ben Bradlee Jr.’s ‘listening -reporting’ of the stories of those whose votes shook this country in 2016 offers complex, sobering and important lessons for the future of our country.”

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By Bill O’Boyle

[email protected]