Bluegrass Saga

Out of a son's death and a backwoods journey comes a Pulitzer prizewinning look at the dark U.S. past

DURING THE DECADE IN WHICH HE taught himself to be a playwright, actor Robert Schenkkan, 40, went long stretches without work, uprooted himself from New York to California, grew politically inflamed and endured the deaths of his mother and, especially agonizing, his stillborn first child. "We lost a lot of friends because of their inability to deal with our grief," he recalls. "They seemed to think we should be quiet and move on. But I look at the whole world through that lens now, and it gave me the theme of denial, of misguided forgetting, that runs through my work." The...

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