Notes from No Man’s Land: American Essays

From telephone poles and lynchings, to Black Dolls and white Barbies, to a mother who gives birth to twins, one white one black, and has to give the black one to its natural parents (mixup at the lab), Bliss’s collection of essays dances around and sometimes strikes directly into the heart of race relations in America, our shameful legacy. She ends with an apology for slavery, because even if she didn’t perpetrate it, her cousin might have. Smart, personal songs from a talented writer, making comparisons between Hurricane Katrina (the focus on looting post-hurricane smacks of racism) and the tornado that ripped apart Iowa City (with looting by college students downplayed). Laura Ingalls Wilder’s frank gaze into the racism on the prairie (“only good Indian is a dead one”, “if you don’t like Indians, why did you move to their country to be surrounded by them?”)