James and Deborah Fallows In the Press

Referenced in New England Board of Higher Education Journal

Posted on November 19th, 2018 at 7:15 PM

New England Board of Higher Education LogoNew England Board of Higher Education Deliberative Democracy

In their Nobember 19, 2018 report for the New England Board of Higher Education Journal, Bruce Mallory, Quixada Moore-Vissing, and Michele Holt-Shannon report on the state of New Hampshire Listens, a civic engagement program founded in 2009 within the University of New Hampshire's Carsey School of Public Policy. Since 2010, the organization has hosted conversations in more than 85 towns and cities, engaging some 4,500 New Hampshire residents on a wide range of issues. There is also a growing group of Local Listens affiliate organizations, locally run public engagement groups.

In their analysis of the effectiveness of NH Listens, the authors reference, "the emerging national conversation advanced by James and Deborah Fallows in Our Towns . . . and others on both the right and left who see that bottom-up approaches are critical at a time when faith in top-down solutions has gone missing."

Featured on

Posted on November 19th, 2018 at 6:48 PM Changing a Locality

Danville Register & Bee correspondent John Crane reported on James and Deborah Fallowses' appearance before 200-300 community leaders and local officials at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research on November 14. In their talk, hosted by the Danville Regional Foundation (VA), Crane noted that one of the themes the couple, "learned from the communities they visited -- those like Danville -- is that change takes time. Also, successful cities have a realistic -- but not negative -- view of their history and who they are. 'The changes you're going through are idiosyncratic but like those other communities are facing,' " James Fallows said.

Review of Talk at Jefferson Educational Society’s Global Summit X

Posted on November 18th, 2018 at 6:06 PM Authors Examine

Ron Leonardi of reported on the Fallowses' appearance as the closing speaker in the Jefferson Educational Society's Global Summit X. The Fallowses, he said, found Erie, like many other cities across the country, were dealing with problems including, "industrial dislocation, dealing with ethnic change with refugees and immigrans, school funding, the opioid epidemic, and generational shifts." In their book, Our Towns, they point out key initiatives in Erie. James Fallows said, "Our message is that we are impressed by the effort, the possibility, the spirit that is in Erie, including with it a generational shift, which is something we've seen in a lot of cities around the country. There are new things and new possibilities, and I think some of those are the combination of the Erie Insurance building downtown, this Velocity building and a lot of the techs that are here."

Featured in The Fayette Tribune

Posted on November 15th, 2018 at 6:01 PM

Fayette TribuneFayette Tribune, Nation Healing

In his column in the November 15, 2018 edition of The Fayette Tribune (WV), Jack Stevenson asserts, "Civic leaders in the community where I live brought in knowledgeable people with a wide range of expertise to examine the issue of why some communities rebound while others remain stagnant." He goes on to cite, "As James and Deborah Fallows express it in Our Towns, where communities are thriving, 'People work together on practical local possibilities, rather than allowing bitter disagreements about national politics to keep them apart.' "

Interview on WFAE's 'Charlotte Talks'

Posted on November 14th, 2018 at 1:25 PM


WFAE Charlotte Talks

Listen to James and Deborah Fallowses' interview with Mike Collins on Charlotte Talks.

Referenced in Bloomberg

Posted on November 12th, 2018 at 8:10 PM

Bloomberg OpinionBloomberg, Healing the Nation's Wounds

In his Monday, November 12, 2018 column, Bloomberg Opinion columnist Justin Fox reports on a new park in Tulsa, OK called the Gathering Place, which he sees as an example of a great public space like those described in Eric Klinenberg's Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life. These "palaces" also include other forms of social infrastructure such as vacant lots turned into mini-parks, swimming pools, athletic fields, sidewalks and, most particularly, libraries.

He concludes, "In their recent bestseller Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America, James and Deborah Fallows tell many similar stories. The notion that cities and towns are uniquely placed to be sources of political innovation and societal renewal is a frequently voiced one these days, in part because there seems to be so little chance of such a coming-together at the national level."

Recommended by Tom Hanks at Portland Book Festival

Posted on November 11th, 2018 at 2:31 PM

Tom Hanks, Oregon LiveOregon Live, Tom Hanks Takes his Role

Tom Hanks spoke with New York Times book critic Parul Sehgal about his short story collection, Uncommon Type: Some Stories as one of two keynote authors at the Portland celebration of contemporary authors and literature on Saturday, Nov. 10th.

Backstage with reporters, he shared titles he's read recently, scrolling through book cover photos on his phone. Our Towns, by James Fallows and Deborah Fallows, "That was great."

Featured in The Washington Post

Posted on November 9th, 2018 at 5:27 PM

The Washington PostWashington Post, Moderate Republicans

In his November 9, 2018 column, Geoffrey Kabaservice posits that, particularly below the national level of politics, moderate Republicans are some of the most popular and successful politicians in the country. 

He concludes the article referencing the similar evidence the Fallowses found in Our Towns. He states, "James and Deborah Fallows, authors of the recent book "Our Towns," traveled extensively around smaller urban areas in the heartland of America in the course of their research. They discovered that, in contrast to the hyper-partisanship and gridlock at the federal level, local politics retains a penchant for collaboration, reasonable compromise and long-term vision. If there's any hope for our collective political future, it's that such pragmatism will percolate up from our local politics to our national politics. And the 2018 midterm results suggest that the green shoots of moderation are breaking out, even in the states that many East Coast liberals think are hopelessly addicted to Trump's brand of divisive cultural warfare."

Video from National Conference on Citizenship

Posted on November 8th, 2018 at 4:21 PM

National Conference on Democracy

On October 17 and 18, more than 300 people attended the 2018 National Conference on Citizenship in Washington, D.C. James and Deborah Fallows gave the keynote address of the gathering described as, "an amazing two days that saw passionate conversations, enriching speakers, and excitement booming from attendees." 

Watch videos that capture the best moments of the conference, including the Fallowses', here.

Featured in The Washington Post

Posted on November 6th, 2018 at 8:33 PM

The Washington PostWashington Post, Trump is Trying to Scare Us

In his November 6, 2018 opinion column, Jonathan Capehart writes, "Five years ago, James Fallows and his wife Deborah set out on a journey to discover America. The result became their book, Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America. And they came away with a view of our nation that is more hopeful than the tenor and tone our national politics would allow. On this day, when Americans are going to the polls to have a say in their democracy, I wanted to give you something other than exit polls and election results to obsess over. What the Fallowses discovered was a nation splitting in two between national politics and local politics. The former is dysfunctional, while the latter is filled with positive action."

Listen to the podcast, Capehart's latest episode of "Cape Up," "to get a more hopeful vision of your country -- one that is not mired in discussions about walls and caravans and hateful rhetoric."