Book talk: What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era

Date & Time Oct 19 2020 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Carlos Lozada MPA '97, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist; nonfiction book critic of The Washington Post and; author, “What Were We Thinking"
Audience Open to the Public, Registration Required

Lozada will be joined in conversation with Julian Zelizer, the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs, Princeton.

To register, please visit

As a book critic for The Washington Post, Carlos Lozada has read some 150 volumes claiming to diagnose why Trump was elected and what his presidency reveals about our nation. Many of these, he’s found, are more defensive than incisive, more righteous than right.

In “What Were We Thinking,” Lozada uses these books to tell the story of how we understand ourselves in the Trump era, using as his main characters the political ideas and debates at play in America today. He dissects works on the white working class like “Hillbilly Elegy;” manifestos from the anti-Trump resistance like “On Tyranny” and “No Is Not Enough;” books on race, gender, and identity like “How to Be an Antiracist” and “Good and Mad;” polemics on the future of the conservative movement like “The Corrosion of Conservatism;” and of course plenty of books about Trump himself.

Carlos Lozada is the nonfiction book critic of the Washington Post. He has won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism and the National Book Critics Circle citation for excellence in reviewing. Previously, he has served as the Post's economics editor, national security editor, and Outlook editor. He is a 1993 graduate of the University of Notre Dame and earned a master's degree at Princeton's School of Public and International Affairs in 1997. Lozada is an adjunct professor of political science and journalism with Notre Dame's Washington program. Previously, he was the managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine and a Knight-Bagehot fellow at Columbia University. A native of Lima, Peru, he became a U.S. citizen in 2014.

Julian E. Zelizer has been one of the pioneers in the revival of American political history. He is the author and editor of 20 books on American political history, including the most recent published by Penguin Press in July 2020, “Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, the Fall of a Speaker,” and the “Rise of the New Republican Party.”