Government & Politics

Vermont Conversation: Journalist Jeff Sharlet on America's ‘slow civil war’

Jeff Sharlet, left, and his new book, "The Undertow." Images courtesy of Jeff Sharlet

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If there is a conspiracy theory or far-right group, Jeff Sharlet has probably hung out with its followers. Sharlet is an investigative journalist and correspondent for Vanity Fair. He is one of the country’s leading experts on religion, fundamentalism and American politics. He is the winner of the National Magazine Award for Reporting and numerous other awards.

In 2019, Netflix released "The Family," a five-part series based on Sharlet’s reporting about the secretive fundamentalist group that includes among its members a number of the country’s leading politicians. He has attended countless Trump rallies around the country, chronicled people preparing for armed insurrection and attended gatherings of QAnon followers.

Sharlet is a professor of English and director of creative writing at Dartmouth College. He has a new book out this week, “The Undertow: Scenes From A Slow Civil War.” 

Sharlet believes that averting civil war will take concerted and sustained action. 

"We don't think of democracy as something we have but as something we do. You get up and you do it every day," he said."We haven't achieved democracy once yet. But we're going to try again tomorrow."

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David Goodman

About David

David Goodman is an award-winning journalist and the author of a dozen books, including four New York Times bestsellers that he co-authored with his sister, Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman. His work has appeared in Mother Jones, New York Times, Outside, Boston Globe and other publications. He is the host of The Vermont Conversation, a VTDigger podcast featuring in-depth interviews about local and national topics. The Vermont Conversation is also an hour-long weekly radio program that can be heard on Wednesday at 1 p.m. on WDEV/Radio Vermont.


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