HISTORY

One Day: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America

Blue Rider. Oct. 2019. 384p. bibliog. ISBN 9780399166662. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780698135598. HIST
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Pulitzer Prize–winning Washington Post columnist Weingarten (The Fiddler in the Subway) probes a day in the life of America, chosen at random, to illustrate that there is no such thing as “an ordinary day.” He settles on Sunday, December 28, 1986, which he at first deemed inauspicious, since Sundays, and the period between Christmas and New Year’s, typically yields little in the way of news. Walking through the events that transpired on that day, in chronological order starting at 12 a.m., Weingarten discovers fires, murders, medical breakthroughs, racial strife, and AIDS. The author mined newspaper and TV accounts and substantiated the stories by interviewing the primary individuals still alive to flesh out their headlines, as well as others affected by the events. All happenstances continued to reverberate in surprising and often pivotal ways. The technological and scientific gains accomplished in the space of a few decades are also made plain, and the mid-1980s are evoked with just a twinge of nostalgia.
VERDICT The results of this fascinating, well-researched narrative are conveyed with immediacy, insight, and humor. A solid choice for all readers.

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