The Long Year

ebook A 2020 Reader · Public Books Series

By Thomas J. Sugrue

cover image of The Long Year

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Some years—1789, 1929, 1989—change the world suddenly. Or do they? In 2020, a pandemic converged with an economic collapse, inequalities exploded, and institutions weakened. Yet these crises sprang not from new risks but from known dangers. The world—like many patients—met 2020 with a host of preexisting conditions, which together tilted the odds toward disaster. Perhaps 2020 wasn't the year the world changed; perhaps it was simply the moment the world finally understood its deadly diagnosis.
In The Long Year, some of the world's most incisive thinkers excavate 2020's buried crises, revealing how they must be confronted in order to achieve a more equal future. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor calls for the defunding of police and the refunding of communities; Keisha Blain demonstrates why the battle against racism must be global; and Adam Tooze reveals that COVID-19 hit hardest where inequality was already greatest and welfare states weakest. Yarimar Bonilla, Xiaowei Wang, Simon Balto, Marcia Chatelain, Gautam Bhan, Ananya Roy, and others offer insights from the factory farms of China to the elite resorts of France, the meatpacking plants of the Midwest to the overcrowded hospitals of India.
The definitive guide to these ongoing catastrophes, The Long Year shows that only by exposing the roots and ramifications of 2020 can another such breakdown be prevented. It is made possible through institutional partnerships with Public Books and the Social Science Research Council.

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The Long Year