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An insightful and urgent reassessment of America's past, present and future – as a country which is forever at war with itself.

Book cover for 'The Forever War' depicting the American flag flying above the White House.

The Forever War tells the story of how America’s political polarisation is 250 years in the making and argues that the roots of its modern-day malaise are to be found in its troubled past.

As we approach the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the American experiment is failing. Division, mistrust and misinformation are now its defining characteristics. The storming of the Capitol, the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the increasing spotlight on Second Amendment rights raise the spectre of further political violence, and even the possibility of a second civil war.

Nick Bryant argues that the hate, divisiveness and paranoia we see today are in fact a core part of America’s story. Combining brilliant storytelling with historical research, Bryant argues that insurrections, assassinations and massacres – from the American Civil War through to JFK and the inner-city race riots of the late ’60s, up to the more recent school shootings and the murder of George Floyd – should sadly not be seen as abnormalities.

The compromises originally designed to hold the union together – the Amendments made in the Reconstruction era to give rights back to former enslaved people, the apportionment of political power – have never truly been resolved. Today, a country that looked confidently to the future has become captive to its contentious past.

About the author

During a career spanning almost thirty years, Nick Bryant came to be regarded as one of the BBC’s finest foreign correspondents and was described as ‘the new Alistair Cooke’. He has been posted in Washington, South Asia, Australia and, most recently, New York, where he covered the Trump years. His writing has appeared in The EconomistThe Washington PostThe AtlanticThe Sydney Morning HeraldThe AgeThe Monthly and The New Statesman. He broadcasts regularly on the BBC and ABC.

Nick studied history at Cambridge and has a doctorate in American politics from Oxford. He now lives in Sydney with his wife and children. His book, When America Stopped Being Great: A History of the Present, currently resides on Joe Biden’s bookshelf in the Oval Office.

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