It’s no surprise that Corey Taylor has an opinion on practically everything, but since starting out as a writer, he has proven his skills go beyond that of screaming and singing. In his past three books he has balanced the line of entertaining and intellectual, discussing and jabbing at everything from religion, the paranormal, to radio pop music. Now with his fourth book, America 51: A Probe into the Realities That Are Hiding Inside “The Greatest Country in the World” (Da Capo), Taylor tackles his biggest challenge yet, the United States of America.
One incredible strength the author channels into his writing is that of his voice. If you’ve ever listened to him talk at a show or in an interview, you know that he’s a pretty entertaining and funny guy. This humor comes right through the page, whether it produces a slight chuckle or a hardy laugh. American 51 doesn’t come with as much kick when it comes to humor, however. There are moments where one will find themselves laughing out loud, such as when Taylor takes cracks at various politicians, or when he dives into personal side stories. But the fact of the matter is that the topics throughout the book are just too grim to find that comical.
The book acts at times as both a reflection and dissection of America’s past and current state (socially and politically). Topics range from that of institutionalized racism, police brutality, and more. Other than Taylor's opinion on certain politicians and political parties, there's both a strong understanding and explanation of history. When he isn't tearing Trump or Conservatives a new one, he goes into great detail that outlines the ignorance that comes from racism and other forms of hate. His voice is that of a teacher, but also your best friend who loves to cuss.
Page 53, “One of the things white people love to do is claim that black people can be racist as well. That’s not accurate, and if more people knew what the actual definition of racism was, maybe we could get a better handle on it … Racism has to do with control and a very certain kind of imagined control. Racism is the belief that one race is far superior to all other colors, shapes, and sizes and that not only do people of this race have the right to do whatever they want to people but that those other colors are expected to bow down and succumb … Black people don’t do that. They stick up for their culture and almost certainly amplify their pride based on hundreds of years of oppression and opposition…”
America 51 was originally intended to focus on the dangers of “What if Donald Trump won?". We can all see that didn’t pan out, for Taylor was one of the millions who sincerely could not have imagined Donald Trump as President of the United States of America. That being said, in Taylor’s own words, “He ain’t my fucking President.” Nothing is held back when it comes to attacking Trump, and it’s in these moments where the author lets loose his humor (along with his viciousness). Repeatedly throughout the book he refers to Trump as “The Cheeto”, using the moniker in such classic lines as, “The Cheeto can kiss my ass”.
Along with Trump, Taylor goes for the throat of the Right, calling out each of their outlandish moves that push Americans further down the global ladder. He goes into detail how cutting funding to Planned Parenthood, the ACA, and assistance programs that help provide food stamps are ass-backwards tactics that continue to divide this country even more. This continues into chapters full of America’s history of racism and xenophobia, with Taylor specifically targeting the Alt-Right (Nazis), and those who want to support Trump’s wall.
Page 62, “These Trump supporters go on about how they hate ‘snowflakes’ and ‘social justice warriors’ (SJWs), and all that shit when they’ve conveniently forgotten that our forefathers were the originals SJWs.”
Conservatives aren’t the only ones in the author’s sights, however. There are a few times where he will also dive into what irks him about liberals and democrats. In particular, he dissects the elitism that democrats portray, alienating middle class working Americans. He eventually ties this into how conservatives use middle class working Americans to win votes, and how in the end, it’s the people that get hurt. Even though he has plenty to say about both sides of the coin, truth is that much more of the book attacks the Right.
Page 84, "The scars from our Civil War, Griffith's Birth of a Nation, 1968, and every act of violence all the way up to the present day have been torn asunder, spilling blood that is red, black, white, blue, brown, and beige. If you think America is only white, you're a fucking coward with hate on your heart and no room to play with others."
Among the many complaints that the author shares about America, at the core of his book is his love for the country. What the work strives to get across to the reader is the idea that if we could just listen to one another, then things might be a bit easier. Taylor isn’t naïve in his wishes, but believes that if we genuinely allowed people to speak their feelings (without hate and being spoken down to), we could have a better understanding where we all are. In this sense, it would allow us to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. In the end, Taylor’s love and passion is that for the American people, and against anyone who would wish to harm or defile the good that Americans have worked so hard for. America 51 works like a spring board for further education; if you’ve ever wanted to become more invested in politics, or get a better understanding of where and how America started, the book presents ideas that you can further research.
The world is a shit show. On one hand we have the fears of nuclear war, and on the other we have Nazis rallying throughout America. Times are bleak as hell, and each day it feels like there’s a new horror to fear. We cannot ignore these issues and we cannot ignore this hate and bigotry. Corey Taylor calls out this hatred, and aims to break down all the wrong that’s happening. Out of his four books, America 51 is his most thought provoking read. He has some genuinely good and logical statements that are made, adding a sense of positivity where so many others rather appear nihilistic. Some people may be turned off by Taylor’s opinions, and wonder why he thinks he has a right to preach anything. From the beginning, however, he makes it clear that if you aren’t a fan of what he has to say, then you can just put the book down. As someone that people look up to and are inspired by, Corey Taylor is in a position to offer something good to the world, and America 51 does just that. It’s a book that brings America's struggles into a brighter light, and asks us to please be aware. Corey Taylor offers his voice as a guide to look at what we are doing wrong, and to consider a different better path for ourselves and fellow beings.
Page 236, “When the time comes, when the hammer falls, when the light reveals what we’ve all feared all along, will we all be willing to accept what is right in front of us? Will we be ready to stand together because it’s the right thing to do? Can we set aside our falsehoods to build our brother and sisterhood again? I hope so.”