The Age of Grievance (Paperback)

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “Brilliant...Bruni writes with humor, insight, and precision.” —Wall Street Journal • “The best prescription for our redemption.” —The New York Times • “A wise and humane book for our foolish and cruel era.” —Jonathan Haidt, author of The Anxious Generation

From bestselling author and longtime New York Times columnist Frank Bruni comes a lucid, powerful examination of the ways in which grievance has come to define our current culture and politics, on both the right and left.

The twists and turns of American politics are unpredictable, but the tone is a troubling given. It’s one of grievance. More and more Americans are convinced that they’re losing because somebody else is winning. More and more tally their slights, measure their misfortune, and assign particular people responsibility for it. The blame game has become the country’s most popular sport and victimhood its most fashionable garb.

Grievance needn’t be bad. It has done enormous good. The United States is a nation born of grievance, and across the nearly two hundred and fifty years of our existence as a country, grievance has been the engine of morally urgent change. But what happens when all sorts of grievances—the greater ones, the lesser ones, the authentic, the invented—are jumbled together? When people take their grievances to lengths that they didn’t before? A violent mob storms the US Capitol, rejecting the results of a presidential election. Conspiracy theories flourish. Fox News knowingly peddles lies in the service of profit. College students chase away speakers, and college administrators dismiss instructors for dissenting from progressive orthodoxy. Benign words are branded hurtful; benign gestures are deemed hostile. And there’s a potentially devastating erosion of the civility, common ground, and compromise necessary for our democracy to survive.

How did we get here? What does it say about us, and where does it leave us? The Age of Grievance examines these critical questions and charts a path forward.

About the Author

Frank Bruni has been a prominent journalist for more than three decades, including more than twenty-five years at The New York Times, in roles as diverse as op-ed columnist, White House correspondent, Rome bureau chief, and chief restaurant critic. He is the author of four New York Times bestsellers. In July 2021, he became a full professor at Duke University, teaching in the school of public policy. He currently writes his popular weekly newsletter for the Times and produces additional essays as one of the newspaper’s Contributing Opinion Writers. Contact him on X: @FrankBruni; Facebook: @FrankBruniNYT; Instagram/Threads: @FrankABruni64 or his website 

Praise For…

“Brilliant . . . Bruni writes with humor, insight, and precision. . . . Taken together, the instances of violence, hate, misinformation, and demagoguery he enumerates are staggering. . . . Bruni zooms in on grievance overload on both sides of the political aisle, in pop culture and on college campuses, in virtually every digital and physical space we occupy. He also zooms out, exploring the origins of this grievance sickness and prescribing potential antidotes.” Wall Street Journal

“It’s not just the most astute diagnosis of the rage, recrimination, and revenge culture that ails our country. It’s also the best prescription for our redemption.” —Bret Stephens, The New York Times

“He’s one of the smartest people I know.” —Gail Collins, The New York Times

“Whether from left or right, Bruni calls for a dose of humility on the part of all: ‘an amalgam of kindness, openness, and silliness might be an effective solvent for grievance.’ A welcome call to grow up and cut out the whining.” Kirkus Reviews

“In this feverish era for America and the world, Frank Bruni is the doctor we need. His diagnoses of our fractured politics are clear and compelling. His prescriptions are designed to heal. And his bedside manner—the wise, charming voice that has made him one of America’s most admired commentators—helps the medicine taste like sugar.” David Von Drehle, New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Charlie

“Bruni deftly dissects how grievance came to pervade American life, with each political tribe attempting to out-victim the other in increasingly ostentatious ways, leaving us in a kind of hellscape. If you are tired of hearing from entitled blowhards who have achieved success far beyond their merit yet still believe they are oppressed and you hope instead for a society that values humility, this is the book for you. Alternately funny, depressing, and pointed, The Age of Grievance is much-needed reading for the self-righteous Ivy Leaguer and the red-hatted insurrectionist alike.” —Tim Miller, author of Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell

“It can be a pleasure to read about how terrible things are when the writer is Frank Bruni. He gives us a catalogue of absurdities, sparing neither left nor right, along with some explanations of why our current wave of grievance is more dangerous than earlier waves. He also gives us great ideas for making our country less absurd. This is a wise and humane book for our foolish and cruel era.” —Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind, coauthor of The Coddling of the American Mind

“Bruni is one of my favorite New York Times writers because he’s fun and sane and ecumenical. This new book drills down on some of Jill Lepore’s concerns, the crypto-fascist insanity of the Trumpers and the self-righteous myopia of the Left. These arguments aren’t uncommon, but Bruni makes it an entertaining ride and a necessary reminder of how selfish and dangerous and whiny American public life has become.” —Joe Klein, Sanity Clause

“An astonishing, alarming catalogue of the grievances that we nurture. I kept wanting to skip to the section on solutions (which are smart and hopeful, don’t worry) but I couldn’t do it. The writing was so sharp and good that I didn't want to miss anything! Damn you, Bruni!” —Amanda Ripley, journalist and author of High Conflict

Product Details
ISBN: 9781668016442
ISBN-10: 1668016443
Publisher: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: April 1st, 2025
Pages: 288
Language: English