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Carol Anderson, whose previous work, White Rage, won the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award, joins Kate and Eric to discuss her latest book, The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America. Anderson takes a long historical look at the emergence and development of the Second Amendment — “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” — in the context of anti-Black violence and public policy debates. Anderson reveals the various ways in which slavery — and, in particular, white slaveowners’ fears of insurrection — shaped the Second Amendment from the very beginning, with long-reaching effects that we continue to face today, a year after the murder of George Floyd by a white police officer. The infamous Amendment is premised on a racial divide: a white man wielding a gun receives Constitutional protections, while in the hands of a Black man in the United States, a firearm can so often be a death sentence.

Also, Jacqueline Rose, author of On Violence and On Violence Against Women, returns to recommend both Anna Burns’s The Milkman, which won the Man Booker Prize in 2018, as well as Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-formed Thing.