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May 31 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

WRITERS FOR DEMOCRATIC ACTION presents Sarah Chayes and John Passacantando


Books & Books
(305) 442-4408
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May 31
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm



Writers for Democratic Action presents…

A Virtual Afternoon with

Sarah Chayes and John Passacantando


On Corruption in America – And What Is at Stake

Friday, May 31st, 3 PM (ET) | LIVE via Crowdcast


About the Book: 

From the prizewinning journalist and internationally recognized expert on corruption in government networks throughout the world comes a major work that looks homeward to America, exploring the insidious, dangerous networks of corruption of our past, present, and precarious future.

 Sarah Chayes writes that the United States is showing signs similar to some of the most corrupt countries in the world. Corruption, she argues, is an operating system of sophisticated networks in which government officials, key private-sector individuals and out-and-out criminals interweave.  Their main objective: not to serve the public but to maximize returns for themselves.

 In this unflinching examination, Chayes exposes how corruption has thrived within our borders, from America’s Gilded Age and its wealth-crazed titans (Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, J. P. Morgan, Joe Kennedy and his banking, bootlegging, machine politics and pursuit of infinite wealth) to the Great Depression and two devastating world wars that resulted from these practices, to the deregulation of the 1980s and 1990s, and onto the present.  Today’s money-mad assault on democracy and human dignity, Chayes finds, mirror that century-old pattern.

 Ultimately, and most importantly, Chayes reveals how corrupt systems are organized, how they enable bad actors to bend the rules so their crimes are covered legally, how they overtly determine the shape of our government, and how they affect all levels of society, especially when the corruption is overlooked and downplayed by the rich and well-educated.

About the Author:

Sarah Chayes’s unusual trajectory has led from reporting from Paris for National Public Radio to a decade on the ground in Afghanistan, including service to two commanders of the international forces there and to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen.  Internationally renowned for her intrepid examination of corruption and its implications, she has probed its workings on five continents – and most recently the United States.  Here as elsewhere, she has found, systemic corruption lies behind many crises, including environmental devastation and our own brand of violent ideological extremism.  She is the author of The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban, Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security, a 2016 L.A. Times Book Prize winner, and On Corruption in America – And What Is at Stake.  She lives in Paw Paw, WV.

About the Moderator:

John Passacantando grew up in the swamps of New Jersey that Springsteen made famous, and took regular camping trips to the Maine lakes and coast with his family. A lifelong environmentalist, Passacantando worked on the edges of Wall Street before becoming a full-time activist in 1992, when he founded and ran Ozone Action (1992-2000), the country’s first national advocacy group focusing exclusively on global warming.  He then merged Ozone Action with Greenpeace USA, which he ran from 2000 through 2008.  Passacantando now serves as a consultant to foundations, advising them on climate and energy strategies while fishing and hunting, from Virginia to the Adirondacks.  He tries to read a book a week, and the two books that explain everything he learned during his 30+ years in Washington, DC are Bill Greider’s Who Will Tell the People: The Betrayal of American Democracy (1993) and Sarah Chayes’ On Corruption in America – And What is at Stake (2020).

WDA’s Mission:

We are writers, readers, editors, and booksellers, standing together to champion democracy everywhere, and the institutions that embody and protect it.  We defend civil liberties: the right to vote and have our votes counted, to gather and protest, to write and read, and to access learning that informs and enriches the lives of citizens.  We battle censorship in all its guises.  A nation can only be strong if it invites a multitude of perspectives into its decision-making process, educates its citizens, and treats the least of them as equal in value to its most powerful.