Sarah Kendzior

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Sarah Kendzior
Sarah J. Kendzior

(1978-09-01) September 1, 1978 (age 42)
Alma materSarah Lawrence College
Indiana University
Washington University in St. Louis

Sarah J. Kendzior[1] (born September 1, 1978) is an American journalist, author, anthropologist, researcher, and scholar.[2] Kendzior is the author of The View from Flyover Country – a collection of essays first published by Al Jazeera – and is co-host of the Gaslit Nation podcast. In 2020, she published her second book, Hiding in Plain Sight: The Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of America.

Early life and education[edit]

Kendzior was born in New Haven, Connecticut. She grew up in Meriden, Connecticut.[3][4]

In 2000, Kendzior received a B.A. in history from Sarah Lawrence College and, in 2006, she received an M.A. in Eurasian Studies from the Department of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University. Her thesis was titled "State Propaganda on Islam in Independent Uzbekistan".[5] In 2012, Kendzior earned a PhD in anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis.[3] Her thesis was titled "The Uzbek Opposition in Exile: Diaspora and Dissident Politics in the Digital Age" and her advisor was John Bowen.[6] Her focus of study was former Soviet Union totalitarian states. Kendzior's dissertation was on how the Uzbekistan dictatorship employed the Internet to undermine public trust in and manipulate the media.


From 2000 to 2003, Kendzior worked as an online news editor and writer for the New York Daily News.[7][8]

She has written for Al Jazeera,[9] The Guardian,[10] Foreign Policy,[11] Marie Claire,[12] The Boston Globe and other outlets. Some of Kendzior's journalistic publications have focused locally on St. Louis.[13]

Kendzior has frequently appeared on MSNBC on the AM Joy show hosted by Joy Reid.[8][14] In 2017, The Irish Times asserted that Kendzior "has become a must-follow journalist."[15] On a St. Louis radio station, Kendzior was described in April 2018 as having become "a media sensation in recent years," and having attained a "relatively sudden national celebrity".[2][8]

Kendzior and Bill Kristol were the main speakers for the 7th annual Public Values Symposium held on March 29, 2019 at the University of Missouri–Saint Louis.[16][17] The two speakers saw "eye-to-eye... on the importance of people speaking up for what they believe in the face of eroding societal norms."[16]

Kendzior was a featured speaker for the Canadian Journalism Foundation's annual Ottawa J-Talk on April 9, 2019.[18]

Regarding her coverage of Donald Trump, Kendzior has stated that she has had "three advantages":[3]

I transitioned into covering the presidential election in March 2016. I had three advantages in covering Donald Trump specifically as a candidate. First, I worked in New York tabloid media, so I knew exactly how he marketed himself. Then, I studied dictatorships and authoritarian regimes the entire time I was doing my PhD.... A lot of things that Trump was doing in his campaign reminded me of things I saw in Uzbekistan, Russia, and other authoritarian states around the world. Alarm bells started going off in my head.... Third, I live in the center of the country, not in D.C. or New York. When they talk about how hard things are out here, that's accurate.[3]

Arthur Levitt interviewed Kendzior about her book and career in a May 2019 podcast for Bloomberg News.[19]

The Columbia Journalism Review reported that because of her writings and expertise on authoritarian states, "as the new president came into power and the specter of Russian interference in his victory triggered Mueller's investigation, the limos started lining up"[8] to drive Kendzior to interviews at television studios because her insights are valuable to the public.

The View from Flyover Country[edit]

In 2015, Kendzior self-published her first book as an ebook – a collection of essays on the American condition first published by Al Jazeera starting in 2013 – called The View from Flyover Country. In 2018, Flatiron Books published an updated print version of the book.[2]

In June 2017, speaking to an American Library Association conference, Hillary Clinton described herself as "riveted by... The View From Flyover Country, which turned out to be especially relevant in the midst of our current health-care debate."[20][21]

The New York Post described Kendzior's The View as a "collection of essays from the talented Kendzior, who writes intelligently and with great empathy about problems faced by the Midwest."[22] The Buffalo News described Kendzior's The View as "an astonishment and a challenge to convention for all sorts of reasons,"[23] and described Kendzior as having "roared to the fore" because of her prediction of the 2016 election results, a result of having studied foreign demagogues and understanding deteriorating conditions in the U.S. The Green Bay Press-Gazette described The View as a collection of "honest essays [in which Kendzior has] addressed themes of poverty, the American Dream, gentrification, race, school costs, unpaid internships and the decline of malls. Some articles have an opinion feel to them, but most are packed with statistics related to the topic at hand."[24]

Kealey Boyd, reviewing in 2018 for Hyperallergic, stated that the essays in The View

were originally published by Al Jazeera between 2012 and 2014, which is concerning, since every essay could be released now and be just as relevant – proving the stagnation of what Kendzior calls our "post-employment economy." Kendzior points to a surging underemployment rate as professionals and laborers work multiple part-time or contractual jobs at poverty wages in place of full-time careers.....

"Mistaking wealth for virtue is the cruelty of our time," states Kendzior. When social stigma drapes over professional immobility and lost opportunities, bad luck is perceived as bad character.... Kendzior observes that Americans born approximately between the late 1970s and the late 1990s are often declared lazy and narcissistic despite enduring the worst economy since the Great Depression. Kendzior's sober observations of the formation of character labels and their impact echo work by Martha Gellhorn, a writer employed by the Roosevelt administration to record the human stories behind the government statistics during the Depression.... Kendzior's prose is sharp and consistent whether the essay is data dense or an opinion piece. She maneuvers through big issues with a pace and clarity that makes unpalatable topics fascinating, and unfortunately, relatable.[25]

Omair Ahmad, reviewing Kendzior's The View for The Wire (India), stated that

I have rarely come across writing that is as urgent and as beautifully expressed.... Kendzior's work has two distinctive qualities that make it stand out. The first is that she is writing from, and about, St Louis, Missouri – a city that was once a cultural hub, but has seen part of the slow decline witnessed in other manufacturing cities of the US. The second is that she is a scholar of the Central Asian republics.... To say that this is an unusual combination would be a radical understatement. Too often scholars of undemocratic regimes leave their horror for the way that humans are treated at their borders, unable or unwilling to see the conditions that the less privileged among their fellow citizens face. Because both journalism and academia are elite professions in themselves – a point that Kendzior makes repeatedly, and with particular force – this distance from local reality is exaggerated even further. The ability to see both allows Kendzior to make some very interesting comparisons...[26]

On Milwaukee Public Radio WUWM, Bonnie North and Lauren Sigfusson stated that Kendzior's The View "takes no prisoners" and is "now a bestseller, but it was originally self-published because no traditional publisher wanted it. The book critiques labor exploitation, race relations, media bias and other aspects of America's post-employment economy that gave rise to President Trump. She believes the United States’ refusal to deal with the repercussions of the 2008 recession 'has come back to haunt us big time.'"[27]

The book was listed as a New York Times bestseller in May 2018.[28]

Gaslit Nation podcast[edit]

Together with Andrea Chalupa, Kendzior hosts a podcast called Gaslit Nation, which originally started out as part of Dame magazine.[29] In Psychology Today, Joe Pierre stated that the podcast "frequently reminds listeners that the Trump administration is part of a 'transnational crime syndicate masquerading as a government'",[30] stating that

The podcast’s title, Gaslit Nation, refers to their assertion that the Trump administration is "gaslighting" America in precisely the way that Arendt, Orwell, and Pomerantzev have described, by repeatedly contradicting the facts and claiming that black is white. This assertion is supported by independent databases maintained by Politifact and The Washington Post that tally false claims involving President Trump. According to The Washington Post's Fact Checker, President Trump has made 15,413 false or misleading statements (and counting) since taking office. Many of these... have been repeated again and again to the point that some no doubt believe it.[30]

Incidents during the Trump administration[edit]

In 2016, Kendzior wrote about similarities between Donald Trump and the authoritarian leaders she had studied given Trump's admiration for Russian president Vladimir Putin before there was widespread public awareness of Russia's interference in the US election.[31]

Personal life[edit]

Kendzior lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and is married with children.[8] She speaks Russian.

Selected works and publications[edit]


  • Kendzior, Sarah (2018). The View from Flyover Country: Dispatches from the Forgotten America. New York: Flatiron Books. ISBN 978-1-250-18999-8. OCLC 1006491098.
  • Kendzior, Sarah (2020). Hiding in Plain Sight: The Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of America. New York: Flatiron Books. ISBN 978-1-250-24539-7. OCLC 1147702789.

Selected publications[edit]


  1. ^ "Leo J. Kendzior". Hartford Courant. April 25, 2006.
  2. ^ a b c Heuer, Alex; Marsh, Don; Kendzior, Sarah (April 2018). "St. Louis journalist Sarah Kendzior in conversation with Don Marsh". St. Louis on the Air. St. Louis Public Radio.
  3. ^ a b c d Jung, Helin (January 30, 2017). "How I Became a Political Journalist Working in the Middle of the Country". Cosmopolitan magazine.
  4. ^ Wicentowski, Danny (June 5, 2019). "How Sarah Kendzior Became the Prophet of Flyover Country". Riverfront Times.
  5. ^ Kendzior, Sarah (2006). State Propaganda on Islam in Independent Uzbekistan (M.A.). Indiana University. OCLC 761020312.
  6. ^ Kendzior, Sarah (2012). The Uzbek Opposition in Exile: Diaspora and Dissident Politics in the Digital Age (PhD). Washington University in St. Louis. doi:10.7936/K7PK0D3M. OCLC 853623602.
  7. ^ Corwin, Sylvie (April 30, 2019). "New York Times Bestseller Sarah Kendzior Speaks at Annual Hosokawa Lecture". Whitman Wire. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d e Rehagen, Tony (April 9, 2018). "From Russia to flyover country, Sarah Kendzior might be the voice we need". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  9. ^ "Sarah Kendzior". Al Jazeera. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  10. ^ "Sarah Kendzior". The Guardian. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  11. ^ "Sarah Kendzior". Foreign Policy. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  12. ^ Kendzior, Sarah (May 31, 2017). "What the Trump Campaign's Potential Collusion with Russia Really *Means*—and Why It's So Scary". Marie Claire. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  13. ^ Kendzior, Sarah (October 1, 2016). "Meet Darren Seals. Then tell me black death is not a business". The Correspondent. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  14. ^ Meyer, Ken (May 7, 2019). "MSNBC Guest: Republicans Want 'One-Party State' that Trump Will Rule as an 'Autocrat'". Mediaite. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  15. ^ Mullally, Una (May 11, 2017). "Una Mullally: Left-leaning media also prospering under Trump". The Irish Times. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  16. ^ a b Walentik, Steve (April 1, 2019). "William Kristol, Sarah Kendzior headline 7th annual Public Values Symposium". UMSL Daily. University of Missouri–Saint Louis Daily. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  17. ^ Lewis, Jon (March 28, 2019). "Diversity in Approach Is Our Strength: Bill Kristol And Sarah Kendzior On Political Divisiveness". Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  18. ^ Paez, Beatrice (April 10, 2019). "Don't overlook the 'exhausted majority' in political coverage, journalist says". The Hill Times. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  19. ^ Levitt, Arthur (host); Parwana, Madena (producer) (May 10, 2019). "Survival Became the Aspiration of My Generation (Podcast)". Bloomberg News. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  20. ^ Landsbaum, Claire (June 27, 2017). "Here Are All the Books Hillary Clinton Has Time to Read Now". The Cut. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  21. ^ Ascarelli, Silvia (July 4, 2017). "Hillary Clinton signs off on a summer reading list". MarketWatch. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  22. ^ Dawson, Mackenzie (April 21, 2018). "This week's must-read books". New York Post. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  23. ^ Simon, Jeff (April 21, 2018). "New books put the Rust Belt, Buffalo in the national spotlight". The Buffalo News. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  24. ^ Anonymous (April 5, 2019). "At the Brown County Library: Cultural views". Green Bay Press-Gazette. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  25. ^ Boyd, Kealey (June 27, 2018). "The America that Wealth Forgot". Hyperallergic. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  26. ^ Ahmad, Omair (December 9, 2016). "A Cassandra in Trumpland: Sarah Kendzior's Pithy Commentary on Privilege". The Wire. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  27. ^ North, Bonnie; Sigfusson, Lauren (December 27, 2018). "Authoritarianism And Truth in Trump's America: A Talk With Sarah Kendzior". WUWM. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  28. ^ Anonymous (May 13, 2018). "Paperback Nonfiction Books – Best Sellers". The New York Times. Retrieved May 11, 2019. On May 13, 2018, The View from Flyover Country was listed as No. 8, "new this week", and summarized as "Essays detailing the 'post-employment' economy.".
  29. ^ "Gaslit Nation". DAME Magazine. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  30. ^ a b Pierre, Joe (January 23, 2020). "Illusory Truth, Lies, and Political Propaganda: Part 2". Psychology Today. Retrieved February 18, 2020.
  31. ^ "From Russia to flyover country, Sarah Kendzior might be the voice we need". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved July 16, 2018.

External links[edit]