What this is:
This fundraiser supports the production, promotion and marketing of Healing America's Narratives through the end of 2023. The book is available in hardcover, trade paper, and Kindle editions (as of early October 2022).
About the book:
Both cautionary tale and love letter, Healing America's Narratives takes a multidisciplinary look at the United States in the third decade of the twenty-first century and argues that where we find ourselves, while discomfiting, is inevitable and not surprising. Underlying this inevitability is the nation's collective Shadow, which emerges through an unhealthy manifestation of masculine energy that yearns to be balanced and integrated with a healthy manifestation of the feminine. Various narratives—both historical and current—need to be healed. Recognizing, owning, and integrating Shadow needs to be part of the healing process.
The book explores five narratives in detail in chapters three through seven: Fear of the Feminine & the Subjugation of Women; Trails of Tears and Broken Treaties; Slavery, Jim Crow, & Civil Rights; Dominoes, Defoliation, Death & Democracy; and Lessons Not Learned: Afghanistan & Iraq. Additional narratives explored in Chapter Eight include ambivalence about the planet; lack of health and caring; prioritizing money, things, and power over people; others being othered; woke and cancel cultures; and our American culture of violence. These narratives implicate every American. The final two chapters offer approaches to and resources for individual and collective healing. Download the table of contents and more here. If you'd like to read a brief (3-8 minutes) essay on any of the chapters, you can do that here.
To learn more about the book, please visit https://healingamericasnarratives.com/ or download an excerpt. The banner at the top of this page consists of some of the narrative sources cited in the book.
Why this book, and why now:
Many Americans are suffering, scared, and worried about the future—of the country and the planet. The nature, frequency, and duration of our current, and again, inevitable, multi-layered suffering make sense in the context of our country's 246-year history and the two-hundred-plus years that led to its founding. Yet, we deny and mythologize our history as though it is disconnected from current events, and many of us seem determined to undermine the fragile, imperfectly manifested ideals that got us here and that we claim to embrace as Americans.
Why this book? In the absence of an integrated historical, psychological, and developmental perspective that makes sense of where we are based on where we've been, and that offers a sense of who we need to be and what we need to do if we want to change course, our suffering not only won't be alleviated, it will deepen and broaden. The fabric of democracy will continue to erode. Our daily domestic violence, our inequitable approach to health and caring, our unequal protection of the laws, our climate- and weather-based disasters, our finger-pointing, and the dysfunction in our governments will continue.
My personal motivation for writing this book:
I have lived long enough to have directly experienced and observed the progress and regress of our American experiment for almost seventy years. Within their shorter timeframes, our children and adolescents have experienced and observed a country mired in war; a disintegrated information environment that conflates 'content,' 'information,' 'myth,' 'opinion,' 'fact,' and 'truth'; everyday domestic violence as normal; unprecedented levels of depression, anxiety, and suicide; extreme natural disasters; chronological adults with titular, apparent authority, limited worldviews, and powerful public platforms, who are unable to model developmental adulthood, and who have virtually no chance to become true Elders. Children deserve better. We can do better. This book is my offering toward that better. It is for all the voices that are and have been silenced, and an alternative to the incessant cacophony of divisive voices that do more harm than good. We don't need another book about what really happened (that's not an indictment of real journalists or public servants--rather a belief that we already have all the information we need in order to do better). We need to understand the information we have in the context of history and human development.
How you can support Healing America's Narratives:
If you can make a financial donation in service of promoting the book through 2023, please do so. Additional ways you can support the project include:
- Share this page and the book's website with others.
- Tell others about the book—in-person, on social media, via paper cup and string—any means at your disposal.
- Once you've read the book (I'm hopeful, not assuming):
- Inform your local libraries and booksellers about the book, and ask them to order it.
- Inform educators in higher and secondary education about the book.
- If you are associated with organizations like the American Psychological Association, the National Education Association, or their state or local affiliates, let them know about the book.
- If you know of organizations that have funding to sponsor readings and/or conversations about the book, let them (and me) know.
- All those other things you're thinking of that I'm not.
"An educator's vision for healing America's traumatic past and politically fractured present....optimistic in tone, emphasizing hope in the possibility of national healing.…a sophisticated presentation of critical theory, U.S. history, and philosophy, the book carefully balances nuance with accessibility and practical application….” —Kirkus Reviews
"...goes right to the heart and to the root of what ails our nation...and to what just might enable us to build a better world, a life-enhancing society. Brilliant. Thoroughly researched and referenced. A tour de force. Read it." —Bill Plotkin, PhD, author of Soulcraft and The Journey of Soul Initiation
"...bears blunt, bold, eloquent witness to the hidden assumptions and attitudes that have shaped America's history and psychology. Reggie Marra achieves something extraordinary here.... Stunning, insightful, intelligent, and fearless, this book deserves a place among the great narratives of the American psyche." —Trebbe Johnson, author of Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty in Earth's Broken Places
"...an aching love story to an America capable of healing through an evolving imagination of human meaning and possibility....unearths the history that lives in us...invites us to open our bodies to edifying truths. Read the book; then read it again and again." —from the Foreword by Maureen Walker, PhD, author of When Getting Along Is Not Enough: Reconstructing Race in Our Lives and Relationships
"Outraged yet hopeful, sweeping in its conclusions...impassioned....unstinting examinations of historical American failings.... In precise, inviting prose, Marra urges readers to look with clear eyes at ourselves. He makes it clear throughout that's he's one of us rather than some presumed authority, putting in the work to understand himself and his nation...." —Booklife
"Marra brings voices together, rightening history with unprecedented accuracy. In his voice we find a confluence of narratives from opposite, alienated, privileged, unprivileged, and marginalized perspectives—balanced with gender, race, ideological and social strata representations." —Marianela Medrano, PhD, author of Rooting: Selected Bilingual Poems
"Marra is giving us the diagnosis and some of the treatment plan we need if we are to survive even into the near future."
—Eduardo Duran (Tiospaye Ta Woapiye Wicasa), PhD, Vietnam veteran, author of Healing the Soul Wound: Trauma-informed Counseling for Indigenous Communities
"...offers compelling and extensive historical research regarding the deep trauma and dysfunction of which our current social fabric is woven....reminds us that regardless of the particular issues we face, each and every one of us needs and deserves the healing that arises from this essential work of becoming more fully human." —Janet E. Aalfs, author of What the Dead Want Me to Know
"...fosters hope and proactively embraces the possibility of a radical shift in how humans interrelate, even—and especially—while some of the worst traits of our humanity are so dismally on display."
—Bridgit Dengel Gaspard, author of The Final 8th: Enlist Your Inner Selves to Accomplish Your Goals