“Harry Truman needed a drink.” Chris Wallace with Mitch Weiss, Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the Atomic Bomb and 116 Days that Changed the World.

“Her name was Magda. Nobody will ever know who killed her. It wasn’t me. Here is her dead body.” Ottessa Moshfegh, Death in Her Hands.

“At exactly fifteen minutes past eight in the morning on August 6, 1945, Japanese time, at the moment when the atomic bomb flashed above Hiroshima, Miss Toshiko Sasaki, a clerk in the personnel department of the East Asia Tin Works, had just sat down at her place in the plant office and was turning her head to speak to the girl at the next desk.” John Hersey, Hiroshima.

“Late one evening toward the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barreled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else’s forehead, and pulled the trigger.” Fredrick Backman, Beartown.

“It was no sensible place to build a great city.” Gary Krist, The Mirage Factory: Illusion, Imagination, and the Invention of Los Angeles.

“Deacon Cuffy Lambkin of Five Ends Baptist Church became a walking dead man on a cloudy September afternoon in 1969.” James McBride, Deacon King Kong.

“White people in North America live in a society that is deeply separate and unequal by race, and white people are the beneficiaries of that separation and inequality.” Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.

“Over twenty years ago a gentleman in Asbury Park, N. J. began manufacturing and advertising a preparation for the immediate and unfailing straightening of the most stubborn Negro hair.” George Schuyler, Black No More.

“William Moulton Marston, who believed women should rule the world, decided at the unnaturally early and altogether impetuous age of eighteen that the time had come for him to die.” Jill Lepore, The Secret History of Wonder Woman.

“One of the very first bullets comes in through the open window above the toilet where Luca is standing.” Jeanine Cummins, American Dirt.

“In the late nineteen-sixties, I was working in rented space on Nassau Street up a flight of stairs and over Nathan Kasrel, Optometrist.” John McPhee, Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process.

“The man in dark blue slacks and a forest green sportshirt waited impatiently in the line.” Patricia Highsmith, The Blunderers.

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