Despite our country feeling more divided than it has in 50 years, there are still things that tie us together. Loving our families, cheering on a favorite team, and—according James Shapiro—Shakespeare. Shapiro is an eminent Shakespeare scholar, who, like many Americans, has found himself confused and troubled lately by the divisions in our country. And as an eminent Shakespeare scholar, he looked to Shakespeare to respond to that confusion. In his new book, Shakespeare in a Divided America, Shapiro puts forward what he sees as a completely new and unique approach to American history. The book looks at times when our nation seemed at its most fragile and disconnected and tells those stories through their connections to Shakespeare. James Shapiro is the Larry Miller professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, and the Shakespeare scholar in residence at New York's Public Theater. He has written several award-winning books on Shakespeare including A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599, Contested Will; Who Wrote Shakespeare?, and The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606. His latest book, Shakespeare in a Divided America: What His Plays Tell Us About Our Past and Future, was published by Penguin Press in 2020. From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published March 17, 2020. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This podcast episode, “O Nation Miserable,” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. We had technical help from Andrew Feliciano at Voice Trax West in Studio City, California, and Jim Bittle, Senior Director of Broadcast and Multimedia Technology at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.