The Political Possibility of Sound

The Political Possibility of Sound
Author: Salomé Voegelin
Pages: 240
ISBN: 9781501312182
Available:
Release: 2018-11-01
Editor: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

The essay is the perfect format for a crisis. Its porous and contingent nature forgives a lack of formality, while its neglect of perfection and virtuosity releases the potential for the incomplete and the unrealizable. These seven essays on The Political Possibility of Sound present a perfectly incomplete form for a discussion on the possibility of the political that includes creativity and invention, and articulates a politics that imagines transformation and the desire to embrace a connected and collaborative world. The themes of these essays emerge from and deepen discussions started in Voegelin's previous books, Listening to Noise and Silence and Sonic Possible Worlds. Continuing the methodological juxtaposition of phenomenology and logic and writing from close sonic encounters each represents a fragment of listening to a variety of sound works, to music, the acoustic environment and to poetry, to hear their possibilities and develop words for what appears impossible. As fragments of writing they respond to ideas on geography and migration, bring into play formless subjectivities and trans-objective identities, and practice collectivity and a sonic cosmopolitanism through the hearing of shared volumes. They involve the unheard and the in-between to contribute to current discussions on new materialism, and perform vertical readings to reach the depth of sound.

Listening to Noise and Silence

Listening to Noise and Silence
Author: Salomé Voegelin
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9781441143389
Available:
Release: 2010-03-31
Editor: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

Listening to Noise and Silence engages with the emerging practice of sound art and the concurrent development of a discourse and theory of sound. In this original and challenging work, Salomé Voegelin immerses the reader in concepts of listening to sound artwork and the everyday acoustic environment, establishing an aesthetics and philosophy of sound and promoting the notion of a sonic sensibility. A multitude of sound works are discussed, by lesser known contemporary artists and composers (for example Curgenven, Gasson and Federer), historical figures in the field (Artaud, Feldman and Cage), and that of contemporary canonic artists such as Janet Cardiff, Bill Fontana, Bernard Parmegiani, and Merzbow. Informed by the ideas of Adorno, Merleau-Ponty and others, the book aims to come to a critique of sound art from its soundings rather than in relation to abstracted themes and pre-existing categories. Listening to Noise and Silence broadens the discussion surrounding sound art and opens up the field for others to follow.

Sonic Possible Worlds Revised Edition

Sonic Possible Worlds  Revised Edition
Author: Salomé Voegelin
Pages: 272
ISBN: 9781501367632
Available:
Release: 2021-01-14
Editor: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

From its use in literary theory, film criticism and the discourse of games design, Salomé Voegelin expands 'possible world theory' to think the worlding of sound in music, in art and in the everyday. The modal logic of possible worlds, articulated principally via David K. Lewis and developed through Maurice Merleau-Ponty's phenomenological life-worlds, creates a view on the invisible slices of the world and reflects on how to make them count, politically and aesthetically. How to make them thinkable and accessible as the possibility of the everyday and of art: to reach a new materialist understanding from the invisible and to develop an ear for the as yet inaudible. This revised edition continues Voegelin's exploration of the sonic possibility of the world into the sonic possibility and impossibility of the body. Listening to work by Áine O'Dwyer, Hannah Silva and Jocy de Oliveira, it considers sonic possible worlds' radical power to rethink normative constructions and to fabulate a different body from its sound: Hearing the Continuum Between Plural Bodies; between humans, humanoid aliens, monsters, vampires, plants, things and anything we have no name for yet but which a sonic philosophy might start to hear and call.

Sonic Possible Worlds

Sonic Possible Worlds
Author: Salomé Voegelin
Pages: 216
ISBN: 9781623566951
Available:
Release: 2014-06-19
Editor: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

Inspired by its use in literary theory, film criticism and the discourse of game design, Salomé Voegelin adapts and develops “possible world theory” in relation to sound. David K Lewis' Possible World is juxtaposed with Maurice Merleau-Ponty's life-world, to produce a meeting of the semantic and the phenomenological at the place of listening. The central tenet of Sonic Possible Worlds is that at present traditional musical compositions and contemporary sonic outputs are approached and investigated through separate and distinct critical languages and histories. As a consequence, no continuous and comparative study of the field is possible. In Sonic Possible Worlds, Voegelin proposes a new analytical framework that can access and investigate works across genres and times, enabling a comparative engagement where composers such as Henry Purcell and Nadia Boulanger encounter sound art works by Shilpa Gupta and Christina Kubisch and where the soundscape compositions of Chris Watson and Francisco López resound in the visual worlds of Louise Bourgeois.

Sonic Agency

Sonic Agency
Author: Brandon Labelle
Pages: 192
ISBN: 9781912685950
Available:
Release: 2020-11
Editor: Goldsmiths Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

A timely exploration of whether sound and listening can be the basis of political change. In a world dominated by the visual, could contemporary resistances be auditory? This timely and important book from Goldsmiths Press highlights sound's invisible, disruptive, and affective qualities and asks whether the unseen nature of sound can support a political transformation. In Sonic Agency, Brandon LaBelle sets out to engage contemporary social and political crises by way of sonic thought and imagination. He divides sound's functions into four figures of resistance--the invisible, the overheard, the itinerant, and the weak--and argues for their role in creating alternative "unlikely publics" in which to foster mutuality and dissent. He highlights existing sonic cultures and social initiatives that utilize or deploy sound and listening to address conflict, and points to their work as models for a wider movement. He considers issues of disappearance and hidden culture, nonviolence and noise, creole poetics, and networked life, aiming to unsettle traditional notions of the "space of appearance" as the condition for political action and survival. By examining the experience of listening and being heard, LaBelle illuminates a path from the fringes toward hope, citizenship, and vibrancy. In a current climate that has left many feeling they have lost their voices, it may be sound itself that restores it to them.

Keywords in Sound

Keywords in Sound
Author: David Novak,Matt Sakakeeny
Pages: 272
ISBN: 9780822375494
Available:
Release: 2015-04-01
Editor: Duke University Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

In twenty essays on subjects such as noise, acoustics, music, and silence, Keywords in Sound presents a definitive resource for sound studies, and a compelling argument for why studying sound matters. Each contributor details their keyword's intellectual history, outlines its role in cultural, social and political discourses, and suggests possibilities for further research. Keywords in Sound charts the philosophical debates and core problems in defining, classifying and conceptualizing sound, and sets new challenges for the development of sound studies. Contributors. Andrew Eisenberg, Veit Erlmann, Patrick Feaster, Steven Feld, Daniel Fisher, Stefan Helmreich, Charles Hirschkind, Deborah Kapchan, Mara Mills, John Mowitt, David Novak, Ana Maria Ochoa Gautier, Thomas Porcello, Tom Rice, Tara Rodgers, Matt Sakakeeny, David Samuels, Mark M. Smith, Benjamin Steege, Jonathan Sterne, Amanda Weidman

The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays

The Paranoid Style in American Politics  and Other Essays
Author: Richard Hofstadter
Pages: 330
ISBN: 9780307388445
Available:
Release: 2008
Editor: Vintage
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

Imparting an invaluable perspective on contemporary domestic affairs, a classic work of political theory examines the competing forces in American political discourse and how fringe groups can influence--and derail--the larger agendas of a political party. Reprint. 12,500 first printing.

Against Democracy

Against Democracy
Author: Jason Brennan
Pages: 312
ISBN: 9781400888399
Available:
Release: 2017-09-26
Editor: Princeton University Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

A bracingly provocative challenge to one of our most cherished ideas and institutions Most people believe democracy is a uniquely just form of government. They believe people have the right to an equal share of political power. And they believe that political participation is good for us—it empowers us, helps us get what we want, and tends to make us smarter, more virtuous, and more caring for one another. These are some of our most cherished ideas about democracy. But Jason Brennan says they are all wrong. In this trenchant book, Brennan argues that democracy should be judged by its results—and the results are not good enough. Just as defendants have a right to a fair trial, citizens have a right to competent government. But democracy is the rule of the ignorant and the irrational, and it all too often falls short. Furthermore, no one has a fundamental right to any share of political power, and exercising political power does most of us little good. On the contrary, a wide range of social science research shows that political participation and democratic deliberation actually tend to make people worse—more irrational, biased, and mean. Given this grim picture, Brennan argues that a new system of government—epistocracy, the rule of the knowledgeable—may be better than democracy, and that it's time to experiment and find out. A challenging critique of democracy and the first sustained defense of the rule of the knowledgeable, Against Democracy is essential reading for scholars and students of politics across the disciplines. Featuring a new preface that situates the book within the current political climate and discusses other alternatives beyond epistocracy, Against Democracy is a challenging critique of democracy and the first sustained defense of the rule of the knowledgeable.

Speaking Truths with Film

Speaking Truths with Film
Author: Bill Nichols
Pages: 281
ISBN: 9780520290402
Available:
Release: 2016-04-05
Editor: Univ of California Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

"What issues, of both form and content, shape the documentary film? What role does visual evidence play in relation to a documentary's arguments about the world in which we live? Can a documentary be believed, and why or why not? How do documentaries abide by or subvert ethical expectations? Are mockumentaries a form of subversion? In what ways can the documentary be an aesthetic experience and at the same time have political or social impact? And how can such impacts be empirically measured? Pioneering film scholar Bill Nichols investigates the ways in which documentaries strive for accuracy and truthfulness, but simultaneously fabricate a form that shapes reality. Such films may rely on re-enactment to re-create the past, storytelling to provide satisfying narratives, and rhetorical figures such as metaphor and expressive forms such as irony to make a point. In many ways documentaries are a fiction unlike any other. With clarity and passion, Nichols offers close readings of several provocative documentaries including Land without Bread, Restrepo, The Thin Blue Line, The Act of Killing, and Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine as part of an authoritative examination of the layered approaches and delicate ethical balance demanded of documentary filmmakers"--Provided by publisher.

Acoustic Territories

Acoustic Territories
Author: Brandon LaBelle
Pages: 304
ISBN: 9781441177254
Available:
Release: 2010-04-01
Editor: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

Acoustic Territories: Sound Culture and Everyday Life offers an expansive reading of auditory life. It provides a careful consideration of the performative dynamics inherent to sound culture and acts of listening, and discusses how auditory studies may illuminate understandings of contemporary society. Combining research on urbanism, popular culture and auditory issues, Acoustic Territories opens up multiple perspectives - it challenges debates surrounding noise pollution and charts an "acoustic politics of space" by unfolding auditory experience as located within larger cultural histories and related ideologies. Brandon LaBelle traces auditory life through a topographic structure: beginning with underground territories, through to the home as a site, and then further, to streets and neighborhoods, and finally to the sky itself. This structure follows sound as it appears in specific auditory designs, as it is mobilized within various cultural projects, and queries how it comes to circulate through everyday life as a medium for social transformation. Acoustic Territories uncovers the embedded tensions and potentiality inherent to sound as it exists in the everyday spaces around us.

Politics

Politics
Author: Aristotle
Pages: 192
ISBN: 9781365877049
Available:
Release: 2017-04-06
Editor: Lulu.com
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

Expounding upon, 'The Republic, ' the earlier work of his teacher Plato, Aristotle in 'Politics' examines the various options for governance and their respective values. A detailed and pragmatic approach to the subject, Aristotle's 'Politics' provides much of the foundation for modern political thought

Ranciere and Music

Ranciere and Music
Author: Cachopo Joao Pedro Cachopo
Pages: 416
ISBN: 9781474440257
Available:
Release: 2020-04-15
Editor: Edinburgh University Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

The place of music in Ranciere's thought has long been underestimated or unrecognised. This volume responds to this absence with a collection of 15 essays by scholars from a variety of music- and sound-related fields, including an Afterword by Ranciere on the role of music in his thought and writing. The essays engage closely with Ranciere's existing commentary on music and its relationship to other arts in the aesthetic regime, revealed through detailed case studies around music, sound and listening. Ranciere's thought is explored along a number of music-historical trajectories, including Italian and German opera, Romantic and modernist music, Latin American and South African music, jazz, and contemporary popular music. Ranciere's work is also set creatively in dialogue with other key contemporary thinkers including Adorno, Althusser, Badiou and Deleuze.

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain
Author: George Saunders
Pages: 432
ISBN: 9781984856043
Available:
Release: 2021-01-12
Editor: Random House
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the Booker Prize–winning author of Lincoln in the Bardo and Tenth of December comes a literary master class on what makes great stories work and what they can tell us about ourselves—and our world today. “One of the most accurate and beautiful depictions of what it is like to be inside the mind of a writer that I’ve ever read.”—Parul Sehgal, The New York Times For the last twenty years, George Saunders has been teaching a class on the Russian short story to his MFA students at Syracuse University. In A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, he shares a version of that class with us, offering some of what he and his students have discovered together over the years. Paired with iconic short stories by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Gogol, the seven essays in this book are intended for anyone interested in how fiction works and why it’s more relevant than ever in these turbulent times. In his introduction, Saunders writes, “We’re going to enter seven fastidiously constructed scale models of the world, made for a specific purpose that our time maybe doesn’t fully endorse but that these writers accepted implicitly as the aim of art—namely, to ask the big questions, questions like, How are we supposed to be living down here? What were we put here to accomplish? What should we value? What is truth, anyway, and how might we recognize it?” He approaches the stories technically yet accessibly, and through them explains how narrative functions; why we stay immersed in a story and why we resist it; and the bedrock virtues a writer must foster. The process of writing, Saunders reminds us, is a technical craft, but also a way of training oneself to see the world with new openness and curiosity. A Swim in a Pond in the Rain is a deep exploration not just of how great writing works but of how the mind itself works while reading, and of how the reading and writing of stories make genuine connection possible.

Spaces of Conflict Sounds of Solidarity

Spaces of Conflict  Sounds of Solidarity
Author: Gaye Theresa Johnson
Pages: 233
ISBN: 9780520275287
Available:
Release: 2013-02-15
Editor: Univ of California Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

In Spaces of Conflict, Sounds of Solidarity, Gaye Theresa Johnson examines interracial anti-racist alliances, divisions among aggrieved minority communities, and the cultural expressions and spatial politics that emerge from the mutual struggles of Blacks and Chicanos in Los Angeles from the 1940s to the present. Johnson argues that struggles waged in response to institutional and social repression have created both moments and movements in which Blacks and Chicanos have unmasked power imbalances, sought recognition, and forged solidarities by embracing the strategies, cultures, and politics of each others' experiences. At the center of this study is the theory of spatial entitlement: the spatial strategies and vernaculars utilized by working class youth to resist the demarcations of race and class that emerged in the postwar era. In this important new book, Johnson reveals how racial alliances and antagonisms between Blacks and Chicanos in L.A. had spatial as well as racial dimensions.

Exit Voice and Loyalty

Exit  Voice  and Loyalty
Author: Albert O. Hirschman
Pages: 176
ISBN: 9780674254497
Available:
Release: 1972-02-01
Editor: Harvard University Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

An innovator in contemporary thought on economic and political development looks here at decline rather than growth. Albert O. Hirschman makes a basic distinction between alternative ways of reacting to deterioration in business firms and, in general, to dissatisfaction with organizations: one, “exit,” is for the member to quit the organization or for the customer to switch to the competing product, and the other, “voice,” is for members or customers to agitate and exert influence for change “from within.” The efficiency of the competitive mechanism, with its total reliance on exit, is questioned for certain important situations. As exit often undercuts voice while being unable to counteract decline, loyalty is seen in the function of retarding exit and of permitting voice to play its proper role. The interplay of the three concepts turns out to illuminate a wide range of economic, social, and political phenomena. As the author states in the preface, “having found my own unifying way of looking at issues as diverse as competition and the two-party system, divorce and the American character, black power and the failure of ‘unhappy’ top officials to resign over Vietnam, I decided to let myself go a little.”

Minor Feelings

Minor Feelings
Author: Cathy Park Hong
Pages: 224
ISBN: 9781984820389
Available:
Release: 2021-03-02
Editor: One World/Ballantine
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

A ruthlessly honest, emotionally charged, and utterly original exploration of Asian American consciousness and the struggle to be human "Brilliant . . . To read this book is to become more human."--Claudia Rankine, author of Citizen FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FOR AUTOBIOGRAPHY * NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times * The Washington Post * NPR * Time * New Statesman * BuzzFeed * Esquire * The New York Public Library * Book Riot Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively blends memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose fresh truths about racialized consciousness in America. Part memoir and part cultural criticism, this collection is vulnerable, humorous, and provocative--and its relentless and riveting pursuit of vital questions around family and friendship, art and politics, identity and individuality, will change the way you think about our world. Binding these essays together is Hong's theory of "minor feelings." As the daughter of Korean immigrants, Cathy Park Hong grew up steeped in shame, suspicion, and melancholy. She would later understand that these "minor feelings" occur when American optimism contradicts your own reality--when you believe the lies you're told about your own racial identity. Minor feelings are not small, they're dissonant--and in their tension Hong finds the key to the questions that haunt her. With sly humor and a poet's searching mind, Hong uses her own story as a portal into a deeper examination of racial consciousness in America today. This intimate and devastating book traces her relationship to the English language, to shame and depression, to poetry and female friendship. A radically honest work of art, Minor Feelings forms a portrait of one Asian American psyche--and of a writer's search to both uncover and speak the truth. Praise for Minor Feelings "Hong begins her new book of essays with a bang. . . .The essays wander a variegated terrain of memoir, criticism and polemic, oscillating between smooth proclamations of certainty and twitches of self-doubt. . . . Minor Feelings is studded with moments [of] candor and dark humor shot through with glittering self-awareness."--The New York Times "Hong uses her own experiences as a jumping off point to examine race and emotion in the United States."--Newsweek (40 Must-Read Fiction and Nonfiction Books to Savor This Spring) "Powerful . . . [Hong] brings together memoiristic personal essay and reflection, historical accounts and modern reporting, and other works of art and writing, in order to amplify a multitude of voices and capture Asian America as a collection of contradictions. She does so with sharp wit and radical transparency."--Salon

Vibrant Matter

Vibrant Matter
Author: Jane Bennett
Pages: 200
ISBN: 9780822391623
Available:
Release: 2009-12-14
Editor: Duke University Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

In Vibrant Matter the political theorist Jane Bennett, renowned for her work on nature, ethics, and affect, shifts her focus from the human experience of things to things themselves. Bennett argues that political theory needs to do a better job of recognizing the active participation of nonhuman forces in events. Toward that end, she theorizes a “vital materiality” that runs through and across bodies, both human and nonhuman. Bennett explores how political analyses of public events might change were we to acknowledge that agency always emerges as the effect of ad hoc configurations of human and nonhuman forces. She suggests that recognizing that agency is distributed this way, and is not solely the province of humans, might spur the cultivation of a more responsible, ecologically sound politics: a politics less devoted to blaming and condemning individuals than to discerning the web of forces affecting situations and events. Bennett examines the political and theoretical implications of vital materialism through extended discussions of commonplace things and physical phenomena including stem cells, fish oils, electricity, metal, and trash. She reflects on the vital power of material formations such as landfills, which generate lively streams of chemicals, and omega-3 fatty acids, which can transform brain chemistry and mood. Along the way, she engages with the concepts and claims of Spinoza, Nietzsche, Thoreau, Darwin, Adorno, and Deleuze, disclosing a long history of thinking about vibrant matter in Western philosophy, including attempts by Kant, Bergson, and the embryologist Hans Driesch to name the “vital force” inherent in material forms. Bennett concludes by sketching the contours of a “green materialist” ecophilosophy.

Everything Man

Everything Man
Author: Shana L. Redmond
Pages: 208
ISBN: 9781478007296
Available:
Release: 2020-01-10
Editor: Duke University Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

From his cavernous voice and unparalleled artistry to his fearless struggle for human rights, Paul Robeson was one of the twentieth century's greatest icons and polymaths. In Everything Man Shana L. Redmond traces Robeson's continuing cultural resonances in popular culture and politics. She follows his appearance throughout the twentieth century in the forms of sonic and visual vibration and holography; theater, art, and play; and the physical environment. Redmond thereby creates an imaginative cartography in which Robeson remains present and accountable to all those he inspired and defended. With her bold and unique theorization of antiphonal life, Redmond charts the possibility of continued communication, care, and collectivity with those who are dead but never gone.

The Political Philosophy of Rousseau

The Political Philosophy of Rousseau
Author: Roger D. Masters
Pages: 490
ISBN: 9781400868810
Available:
Release: 2015-03-08
Editor: Princeton University Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

This book is intended as an equivalent to or substitute for that "more reflective reading" which Rousseau considered essential to an understanding of his ideas. It is designed to complement perusal of the texts themselves, and the arrangement is such that chapters on each of Rousseau's major writings can be consulted separately or the commentary may be read through in sequence. The author's purpose is not to present a "key" to Rousseau's political philosophy, but rather to explore the works themselves in an effort to reveal Rousseau's "system," from which the reader may then draw his own conclusions. Originally published in 1976. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

The Four Winds

The Four Winds
Author: Kristin Hannah
Pages: 320
ISBN: 9781250178626
Available:
Release: 2021-02-02
Editor: St. Martin's Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER #1 USA TODAY BESTSELLER #1 WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER #1 INDIE BESTSELLER "The Four Winds seems eerily prescient in 2021 . . . Its message is galvanizing and hopeful: We are a nation of scrappy survivors. We’ve been in dire straits before; we will be again. Hold your people close.”—The New York Times "A spectacular tour de force that shines a spotlight on the indispensable but often overlooked role of Greatest Generation women."—People "Through one woman’s survival during the harsh and haunting Dust Bowl, master storyteller, Kristin Hannah, reminds us that the human heart and our Earth are as tough, yet as fragile, as a change in the wind." —Delia Owens, author of Where the Crawdads Sing From the number-one bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes a powerful American epic about love and heroism and hope, set during the Great Depression, a time when the country was in crisis and at war with itself, when millions were out of work and even the land seemed to have turned against them. “My land tells its story if you listen. The story of our family.” Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman’s only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: marriage to a man she barely knows. By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa’s tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive. In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family. The Four Winds is a rich, sweeping novel that stunningly brings to life the Great Depression and the people who lived through it—the harsh realities that divided us as a nation and the enduring battle between the haves and the have-nots. A testament to hope, resilience, and the strength of the human spirit to survive adversity, The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.