Traveling to a New America

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About the author

James Hilgendorf

We are living in a time when personal and social relationships are fraying and fracturing. 

The Surgeon General of the United States, Vivek Murthy, recently sounded an alarm about an epidemic of loneliness erupting throughout the United States.  Young people, especially, feel a growing sense of loneliness, isolation and powerlessness, even as online social media use expands in their lives.

People are looking for new and meaningful connections to the life around them. 

In December, 2020, Elizabeth, my wife of 50 years, passed away after a two year struggle with pancreatic cancer and stroke.  During this time, the pandemic was raging, and America was struggling to salvage its very identity and survival.
“In response to all this, I wrote a book - “Capricorn & Cancer” - to confront the heart of death itself - not only of my wife’s passing, but of an America, fractured and dying - and the need here in America for a deep transformation in the way we view our own lives, our relationship with the universe around us, and to life and death itself.

At the heart of “Capricorn & Cancer” is the story of the enormous transformative power of our 50-year journey with Buddhism - the Buddhism of the SGI, or Soka Gakkai International, the largest Buddhist lay organization in the world now, a movement dedicated to peace, education, and culture, with 12,000,000 members in 192 countries and territories around the world chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo - a simple, basic practice that allows anyone to bring forth from within their own lives the potential and power to surmount their problems and become absolutely happy.

It’s the story of the world that all of us are now struggling to find - a world beyond the old distinctions of race, ethnicity, nationality and even religion - the world of a new common heart and humanity.
Since then, I’ve written personally to thousands and thousands of people- young people especially - in towns and cities all across America, sharing our story; and Elizabeth and I have embarked, online and in-person, on a journey together (yes, we are together still) with “Capricorn & Cancer” and another of my books, “Traveling to a New America”, a collection of 74 pieces from my previous books, of articles, poems, blogs, historical portraits, and interviews with people I interviewed randomly on the streets of America, to combine both books into one new book and journey called “Traveling Together to a New America”.

I hope you read and enjoy this book, and I would greatly appreciate, if you find time, to share an awareness of the book and of this journey with all of your friends everywhere.

You can explore my website at:

To arrange talks and discussions with your group, in-person or on Zoom video, contact me at jameshilgendorf1 (at) gmail (dot) com.

If you would like to support our journey of Traveling Together to a New America, we would deeply appreciate it. 
To donate either one-time or on a continuing basis using Paypal, or your credit or debit card, go to this link:

Thank you!