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UT Humanities Center Public Books Circle - Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope

Join us for a discussion led by R.E. Toledo on a New York Times bestseller and a book called “powerful” by The Washington Post.

A work of nuanced reportage, Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope shows readers the “other America” as the authors tell this story, in part, through the lives of people in rural Yamhill, Oregon. It’s an area that prospered for much of the twentieth century but has been devastated in the last few decades as blue-collar jobs disappeared. Many residents died in adulthood from drugs, alcohol, suicide, or reckless accidents. But examining a host of issues, including unemployment, health care, substance use disorder and the prison system, the authors maintain that these particular stories from one corner of the country are representative of many places, from the Dakotas and Oklahoma to New York and Virginia. Now the subject of a PBS special, Tightrope is a call to arms that warns that America needs to make big changes if it is to save itself.

Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn have coauthored several books, including A Path Appears and Half the Sky. Together they were awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1990 for their coverage of China. They also received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Lifetime Achievement in 2009. Now an op-ed columnist for The New York Times, Kristof was previously bureau chief in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Tokyo. He won his second Pulitzer in 2006 for his columns on Darfur. WuDunn worked at The New York Times as a business editor and foreign correspondent in Tokyo and Beijing. She now works in banking.

How It Works

Our Public Books Circle meets online twice a month and is free and open to the public. Each of our sessions is led by a UT professor, and everyone is welcome to add their voice to the discussion!

  • Register for the book discussion meeting by clicking on the registration link below (you'll be sent a confirmation email with your own unique link to the discussion)
  • Buy a copy of the book (Union Ave Books in downtown Knoxville will be happy to handle your order )
  • Read, enjoy, and join the book discussion online on the date of the event!

R.E. Toledo is Distinguished Lecturer of Spanish in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures with research interest in gender studies, Hispanic cinema, experiential learning, and technology in the classroom. Her poetry and short stories have been published in Letras Femeninas and Label me Latino/a. Her first two collections of poetry, Pregonero despertar de voces (2013) and Azules sueños naranjas (2013), were published in Mexico. She co-edited volume 1 of Nos pasamos de la Raya/We crossed the line (2015) and is currently working on volume 2 and her third poetry collection Vacío/Emptiness. She is serving as a 2020 Faculty Fellow from the UT office of Teaching Learning and Innovation.

Free and open to the public

Dial-In Information

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Wednesday, May 5 at 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Virtual Event
Event Type

Lectures & Presentations


Humanities & Social Sciences


Current Students, Faculty & Staff, Alumni, General Public

Classics, English, History, Humanities Center, Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures (MFLL), Philosophy, Religious Studies


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UT Humanities Center

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