In Search of Common Ground

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As heard on NPR’s This American Life: Unlikely friendships challenge every kind of bias, to offer hope that our societies can heal

Much has been written about our polarized media, social bubbles, and intractable biases. Award-winning journalist Bastian Berbner circled the world to find a different narrative. In Search of Common Ground is his profound collection of true stories that prove it is possible to mend even our fiercest divides.

In Arizona, a former neo-Nazi befriends his Black parole officer. In Germany, an older couple dread the arrival of their new Roma neighbors—but are moved upon meeting them to offer help and become strong supporters. In Ireland, we see one friendship change the world when a gay-rights activist overturns a conservative mailman’s homophobia—and together, they help sway public opinion to legalize gay marriage. Other gap-bridging stories include:
  • young Democrats and Republicans (United States)
  • a Danish policeman and a Muslim boy in danger of radicalization (Denmark)
  • a neo-Nazi and a Palestinian prisoner (Germany)

With added historic and sociological research, Berbner gets to the root of what pushes people apart, and shows that we can dissolve divisions by simply meeting face to face. This is essential, uplifting reading for everyone who aspires to live without hate.