“To err is human, to forgive divine.” If Alexander Pope was right when he penned this line in “An Essay on Criticism,” it helps explain why forgiveness is so often sought but so rarely given.

Some get it, and some don’t. But who and why?

How has forgiveness changed over time, and what does the arc of the unforgiveable reveal about American life?

As I finish my book about neighborhood well-being, I have already begun to turn my attention to the next one. It will be about the very curious politics of forgiveness.

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