Two friends, a Democrat and a Republican, set out across America to better understand each other and the country they love.
In the year before Donald Trump was elected president, Jordan Blashek, a Republican Marine, and Chris Haugh, a Democrat from Berkeley, formed an unlikely friendship. Over the months, Jordan and Chris’s friendship blossomed not in spite of but because of their political differences. So they decided to hit the road in search of reasons to strengthen their bond in an era of strife and partisanship.
Union is a three-year adventure story that takes readers to forty-four states and along nearly twenty thousand miles of road to discover where the American experiment stands today. Jordan and Chris go from a Trump rally in Phoenix and the tear-gas-soaked streets outside; to the decks of a lobster trawler off the coast of Portland, Maine; to jazz clubs near the French Quarter of New Orleans; to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where former addicts painstakingly put their lives back together; to a state prison near Detroit, where inmates grapple with their imminent return to society.
A road narrative, a civics lesson, and an unforgettable window into one powerful friendship, Union will give readers an answer to one of the most pressing questions of our time: How far apart are we, really?
Christopher Haugh is a writer from Kensington, California. After graduating with highest honors from the University of California, Berkeley, Chris attended Oxford University and started speechwriting as an intern in the Obama White House. He went on to join the US Department of State’s Policy Planning Staff where he served as a speechwriter to the Secretary. In 2018, Chris graduated from Yale Law School where he was a Yale Journalism Scholar. Chris is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York.
Jordan Blashek is a businessman, military veteran, and writer from Los Angeles, California. After college, Jordan spent five years in the US Marine Corps as an infantry officer, serving two combat tours overseas. He holds degrees from Yale Law School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Princeton University. Jordan is based in New York, where he invests in entrepreneurial efforts to grow the American middle class as part of Schmidt Futures, a new philanthropic venture created by Eric and Wendy Schmidt.
When you really just talk person-to-person, and you strip away whatever flag or label that you’re flying for whatever reason, you can sit down with somebody.
God and country... the two things I care most about, other than my wife and kids.
Money is not happiness. Happiness is being with your family. Now that I’m here, I feel so alone. I’m missing out on the care of my mom, and time with her. She always took care of me and fought for me when I was younger. Now it’s my turn to fight for her.
Wounds can be inherited. You might not feel slavery or loss directly, but it’s there. It’s in your bones. Children feel their parents’ wounds, and parents feel their own parents’. Stories are just one way of exorcising that pain.
I never gave up. I kept telling myself, I’m not dying in here. I’m not gonna die here. God has a plan for me. I’m gonna get out. And each year I kept saying, ‘This is my year— this is my year.’ And in 2017 it was my year.
There’s got to be a lot of ‘want to’ in you. Drive, you know? You have to come to a point where you’re not okay in your misery.
We could walk out of the door if we wanted to, but we have the option to change our lives, and I know that I want that in my life. I just want to be better. I want my mother to see somebody better than what I was. It’s all I have out there.
Reconciliation starts when you’re uncomfortable.
Chris and Jordan’s odyssey across America is rich with lessons for us all. Giving hope to those who want to believe “there’s more to America than gladiatorial politics,” – that a collective and singular identity exists among Americans – this account provides a foundation for national purpose absent the scorching rhetoric of our time.
Union is a story of hope, beautifully told, and breathtakingly honest. It's honest about our differences, and it's revealing about all we can find in common if we take the time to look. Chris and Jordan don't just write about common ground, they find it, bridging divides between each other and between Americans as they set out across our country in a journey that’s part de Tocqueville for our divided times, and part Steinbeck's 'In Search of America' at a time when some soul-searching is in order. These two young Americans remind us that our country is complicated, and they find richness in the mosaic that is our fragile union. For anyone turned off by the shouting matches on cable news, open up Union and remind yourself that from the front seat of an eighteen wheeler or the bow of a lobster boat, there's a better way to see our country and find ourselves.
What our country needs right now is Union. Americans might not always get along-or see things the same way-but that doesn't have to be our undoing. Jordan and Chris capture our current moment of upheaval, yet leave readers with reasons to hold fast to what we have. This book is a unique tale told through two pairs of eyes-one that offers not just a sense for where we are, but who we are and why that still matters.
America stands at a crossroads—we can either come together or fall apart. Union makes a powerful case for the former. An inspiring story of friendship and struggle, it's a book made for our current political moment. Jordan and Chris offer a heartfelt, poetic argument for hope grounded in their belief that there is far more to the United States than our divided politics.
Join our mailing list for upcoming events near you, giveaways, and other surprises.