Kurt Andersen on ‘Evil Geniuses’ 1

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In “Evil Geniuses,” Kurt Andersen argues that, over the past several decades, America’s political economy has been hijacked by capital supremacists, who preached and enacted a return to a pre-New Deal order. He has also described the book as a “mea culpa” for his own late notice of this trend. On this week’s podcast, he talks about the book and what he sees as some hope for the future.

“The fact that the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party is now somewhat ascendant,” Andersen says, “along with the Bernie Sanders wing, along with the Yang candidacy, I think we are talking about things — the future of automation, fairness in the society, all those things — that really weren’t on the table for several decades because Democrats didn’t put them on the table because they didn’t have a distinct point of view about how our political economy should be and used to be and was screwed up by the right.”


Lesley M.M. Blume visits the podcast to discuss her new book, “Fallout,” which documents how John Hersey brought news to Americans of the human suffering beneath the images of the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima.

“The U.S. was really doing quite an effective job of suppressing Japanese and foreign press in terms of reporting on the human toll,” Blume says, “out of fear for being seen, as former secretary of war Henry Stimson put it, seen as outdoing Hitler in atrocities. The U.S. had just won this unqualified military victory over the Axis powers and really wanted to have their moral victory intact also.”

Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Gregory Cowles and Noor Qasim talk about what they’re reading. Pamela Paul is the host.

Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:

We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to [email protected].