Views from the Side Mirror: Essaying America spans 20 years in American political and cultural life.
From the Foreword, by Susan Herman, President, ACLU: The essays here are the products of a bold and restless mind. They include very personal accounts: conveying his reactions, as a downtown Manhattan resident, to the events of 9/11; riffing on two quirky and somewhat Herzog-like TV characters — The Fonz, and Seinfeld’s Kramer. This collection also thoughtfully probes many other topics Robert offers as aspects of his portrait of today’s America. Robert’s range of thoughts on the topics of our day is as individual as it is broad. He does not toe the line of any political party. He marches to his own ever-changing beat.
There’s the America that is, and the one that could be. I explore that gulf between, to see how we got here, and what we can do about it.
Interspersed among the book’s essays are descriptions from Lower Manhattan of the surreal hours and days after 9/11, when we had to show papers to get to our home and all the trucks heading north were covered with white dust that splayed behind them.
I portray the underlying dynamic of American politics, between Republican venality and Democratic haplessness – and what that foretells for the impeachment process. We needed the Avengers and got the Muppets.
If the Democrats and Republicans were waiters, we’d send them back to the kitchen with no tip for their lousy service. You can say we enjoy great freedom in America. But the reason we can say what we want is because nobody in power is listening.
The book’s concluding essay asks the question “Trump: Virus or Vaccine?” Will his time in office inoculate the country from his brand of politics for personal gain, or has he permanently infected the body politic?
“Robert Herzog’s essays are fluidly written and reflect changes in American society as it has morphed during his lifetime. He punctuates his cultural commentary with contemporaneous reactions to 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy.”
Peter J. Solomon, Founder and Chairman of Peter J. Solomon Co., premier independent investment bank; author, Wasting Time Constructively.
“This collection of essays reflects beyond our current political climate; Robert draws together personal stories capturing how the personal will always be political. This book explores what kind of country we've ended up with and how we can earn back our humanity for each other. It begs the question, have we been striving for the soul of the country for decades, only to be spurned by 9/11? If so, what will you do about it?”
Pamela Chomba, Director of State Immigration Campaigns, fwd.us