In this webinar, recorded October 6, 2020, Bill Morris discusses The Age of Astonishment, his forthcoming nonfiction book about his grandfather, John Morris. In the century in which he lived, John Morris witnessed and “lived through Reconstruction, women’s suffrage, urbanization, Prohibition, the rise and fall and rise of the Ku Klux Klan, labor unrest, the Great Depression, two world wars, the atomic bomb and the Korean War,” and more. Born into a slave-owning family in Hanover County, Va., during the Civil War, John Morris died at the peak of the Cold War, leaving behind a quiet but substantial legacy of scholarship, including an unpublished German-English dictionary. The Age of Astonishment is under contract for publication with Pegasus Books in New York.
Bill Morris is the author of the novels Motor City Burning, All Souls’ Day, and Motor City, as well as the nonfiction book American Berserk. He has worked as a journalist since 1976, and his writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Granta, The New York Times, The (London) Independent, L.A. Weekly, The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, Popular Mechanics and The Daily Beast. Currently, he is a staff writer at the literary website The Millions.