‘A brilliant work of narrative nonfiction’ – Booklist
‘Matt Taibbi is one of the few journalists in America who speaks truth to power’ – Bernie Sanders
‘A searing exposé’ – Kirkus Review
‘Taibbi may be the only political writer in America that matters’ – Hartford Advocate
The incredible story of the death of Eric Garner, the birth of the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement and the new fault lines of race, protest, policing and the power of the people.
On July 17, 2014, a forty-three-year-old black man named Eric Garner died in New York after a police officer put him in a "chokehold" during an arrest for selling bootleg cigarettes. The final moments of his life were captured on video and seen by millions – his agonised last words, “I can’t breathe,” becoming a rallying cry for the nascent Black Lives Matter protest movement.
Matt Taibbi, bestselling author and “the best polemic journalist in America”, tells the full story of the man who inspired a movement – neither villain nor victim, but a fiercely proud individual determined to do the best he could for his family. Featuring vivid vignettes of life on the street, this powerful narrative of urban America is a riveting work of literary journalism and a scathing indictment of law enforcement in the twenty-first century. I Can’t Breathe tells the story of one man to tell the story of countless others, and the power of people to rise up against injustice.
One of the most important voices in contemporary American journalism - Independent
Matt Taibbi is one of the few journalists in America who speaks truth to power - Bernie Sanders
Matt Taibbi is the best polemic journalist in America - Felix Salmon
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
"The thing is, when you actually think about it, it's not funny. Given what's at stake, it's more like the opposite, like the first sign of the collapse of the United States as a global superpower. Twenty years from now, when we're all living like prehistory hominids and hunting rats with sticks, we'll probably look back at this moment as the beginning of the end."
In this groundbreaking battery of dispatches from the heartland of America, Matt Taibbi tells the full story of the Trump phenomenon, from its tragi-comic beginnings to the apocalyptic election. Full of sharp, on-the-ground reporting and gallows humour, his incisive analysis goes beyond the bizarre and disturbing election to tell a wider story of the apparent collapse of American democracy. Taibbi saw the essential themes right from the start: the power of spectacle over truth; the end of a shared reality on the left and right; the nihilistic rebellion of the white working class; the death of the political establishment; and the emergence of a new, explicit form of white nationalism.
From the thwarted Bernie Sanders insurgency to the aimless Hillary Clinton campaign, across the flailing media coverage and the trampled legacy of Obama, this is the story of ordinary voters forced to bear witness to the whole charade. At the centre of it all, "a bumbling train wreck of a candidate who belched and preened his way past a historically weak field" who, improbably, has taken control of the world's most powerful nation.
This is essential and hilarious reading that explores how the new America understands itself, and about the future of the world just beyond the horizon.