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Frank Matt
Independent reporter and TV producer.

Stories are Everything: A PJ Harvey-Inspired Reading List

PJ Harvey performs at Alexandra Palace, London. Photo by joeri-c via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

I listened to PJ Harvey’s 2011 album Let England Shake obsessively while researching people who were sickened or died as a result of their work building nuclear weapons. The¬†album is both simple folk storytelling, and a timeless work about war in the grand tradition of Goya or Hemingway; like the best writers, she turns discrete¬†stories into a broader lens through which to view the world. The music helped me grapple with what each data point of suffering and sacrifice meant, the contradictions in our national remembrance of the cold war, and the forces still shaping that memory.
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