Evil Geniuses: Kurt Andersen with Anand Giridharadas

Thu. Aug 27, 2020 8:00pm - 9:00pm EDT
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The follow-up to Andersen's Fantasyland chronicles a secret takeover of American economics and politics that happened right before our eyes. 

Evil Geniuses Book Cover

By the early 1970s, America had managed to dramatically increase its middle class and to make its economic and social systems fairer and more prosperous. For a confederacy of big business CEOs, the superrich, and right-wing zealots, enough was enough. Together they conceived and executed a long war to undermine and dismantle the rules and norms that had generated the progress. Greed became good, workers grew powerless, and the market triumphed over all. An oligarchy lifted itself up to serve only its own interests, while leaving the majority of Americans with dwindling economic prospects and hope. 

Kurt Andersen speaks to Anand Giridharadas about Andersen's Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America: A Recent History—the abandonments of American principles of fairness and how, as long as big business gets whatever it wants, only the rich get richer, and nothing can ever change. 

Kurt Andersen
is the bestselling author of the novels HeydayTurn of the Century, and True Believers. He contributes to Vanity Fair and The New York Times and was host and co-creator of Studio 360, the Peabody Award-winning public radio show and podcast. He also writes for television, film, and the stage. Andersen co-founded Spy magazine, served as editor in chief of New York Magazine, and was a cultural columnist and critic for Time and The New Yorker. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, where he was an editor of The Harvard Lampoon. He lives in Brooklyn.

Anand Giridharadas is a writer. He is the author of, most recently, Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing World, published by Knopf in 2018. His other books are The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas and India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation's Remaking. He is the editor-at-large for TIME, an on-air political analyst for MSNBC, and a visiting scholar at the Arthur L. Carter Institute at New York University. He is a former columnist and correspondent for The New York Times, having written, most recently, the biweekly "Letter from America." He has also written for The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. Anand has appeared regularly on TV and the radio in the United States and globally. He has been the recipient of honors from the Society of Publishers in Asia, the Poynter Fellowship in Jounrlaism at Yale, the Henry Crown Fellowship of The Aspen Institute, the 800-CEO-READ Business Book of the Year award, and the Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award for Humanism in Culture from Harvard University, and the New York Public Library's Helen Bernstein Award. Anand lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Priya Parker, and two children.


If you have a NYPL library card—or live in New York state and want to apply for one now—you can borrow Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America: A Recent History for free with our e-reader app SimplyE, available for iOS and Android devices.

Readers everywhere who wish to purchase copies of Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America: A Recent History can do so at The New York Public Library Shop. All proceeds benefit The New York Public Library. Plus, receive a free commemorative 125th anniversary tote bag with your purchase!


This program will be streamed on Zoom and simulcast to YouTube. You must register with your email address in order to receive the link to participate. Please check your email shortly before the discussion to receive the link. Captions for this event will be provided. 

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Kurt Andersen © Marco Lau 

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