America 51: A Probe Into the Realities That Are Hiding Inside “The Greatest Country in the World”
By Corey Taylor
(Da Capo Press)
In a sentence that should be a surprise to many, Corey Taylor – best known for his metal bands Slipknot and Stone Sour – is a published author. Let that one sink in for a moment.
Not only has he written four non-fiction books, but they are all, to varying degrees, remarkably insightful. His latest, America 51, was written in the run up to and immediately after the 2016 U.S. presidential election, so politics, our country’s identity and racism play a significant role throughout. And despite, or more likely because Taylor is reliably frank and profane throughout the text, his points are clear on a wide range of issues (he wasn’t a huge fan of Hilary Clinton, but loathes Donald Trump; Americans abroad can be real assholes and Sarah Palin is a “fucking moron”).
Written in stream of consciousness style, Taylor expresses some surprisingly nuanced views about our country, jingoism and our role in the world. The product of a poor, abusive childhood, Taylor has managed a future entirely on his own, as a successful musician that’s spent the last decade or two traveling the globe and seeing parts of the world most Americans will never hear about. Thanks to his background, we are treated to a truly unique perspective on topics usually parsed by the same handful of wonks on the left and the right. In the world of political non-fiction, Taylor proves there’s room on the shelf for a book or two of essays from a metal singer.