America’s Dark Side Unveiled

Both men have spent decades reporting from dangerous places around the world: the Middle East, Central America, Africa, the Balkans. Now, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges and American Book Award-winning cartoonist Joe Sacco are taking readers on a tour of their darkest subject yet: America.

Their new book, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, is a tour through five distinct American communities that used to be vibrant and vital—but today stand as broken monuments to post-industrial decay, violence and sickness. These are places the authors have dubbed “sacrifice zones”: areas across the country “that have been offered up for exploitation in the name of profit, progress, and technological advancement.” Welch, W. Va., where both the land and the people have been ripped apart by the mining industry. Pine Ridge, S.D., where the Native American population has been devastated by generations of government malfeasance. Immokalee, Fla., where migrant workers are subject to sweatshop conditions.

And our own urban neighbor, Camden, frequently named among the poorest and most dangerous cities in the United States.

Each chapter of the book pairs Hedges’ moody, intense, in-depth reporting from those locales with Sacco’s illus-trations and cartoons depicting the first-person life stories of the people who live there. The tales therein—both the intimate personal ones and the big sociopolitical ones—are as unsettling as they are impossible to put down.

This week, PW offers an exclusive excerpt from Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt—a six-page illustrated sequence telling the story of Camden resident Lolly Davis—along with a one-on-one interview with co-author Chris Hedges, who’ll be appearing at the Free Library on Thursday, June 21, to discuss the book.

Read the excerpt and the interview at Philadelphia Weekly