BEYOND THE MESSY TRUTH by Van Jones

BEYOND THE MESSY TRUTH

How We Came Apart, How We Come Together
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KIRKUS REVIEW

An outspoken political analyst offers concrete suggestions to revive democracy, heal culture wars, and prevent a Trump victory in 2020.

CNN political contributor Jones (Rebuild the Dream, 2012, etc.), founder of the social justice organization the Dream Corps, laments the dissension and polarization blighting politics today. Both Democrats and Republicans, he asserts, “have been letting down the American people for a long time,” even before “an erratic egomaniac” came to power. “Since both parties are responsible,” he writes, “both parties need to look within.” Searching for a way forward, Jones aims “to reach out and build some bridges” between liberals like himself and conservatives, whose views he respects. Part manifesto, part manual for activism, the book is enlivened by case histories and personal anecdotes that serve as support for the author’s assertions. He believes that the progressive movement, having lost connection to mainstream Americans, “needs to reignite the fight for cross-racial unity among working people.” Trump’s rhetoric fomented bigotry, causing what Jones terms a “whitelash” against changing demographics and particularly against a black president. But although he recognizes racism within Trump’s coalition, Jones does not believe that alone led to his election. He faults Democrats, as well, for Hillary Clinton’s defeat, calling for “a pro-democracy movement that can inspire” and not merely critique. The author proposes common projects that may bring opposing sides together: fixing the justice system, ending the opioid addiction crisis, opening up the technology sector to all, and transitioning to a greener economy. In two appendices, Jones offers suggestions of books and videos that can serve as bridge-building resources and a long list of political organizations to help people get involved in change. Although most are liberal and progressive—e.g., Black Lives Matter, Center for Community Change, Planned Parenthood—Jones does include conservative groups, such as the American Enterprise Institute and Compilation: Conservative and Libertarian News Sources. “I am interested in the moral center, not the political center,” he writes.

Pragmatic, optimistic proposals for an informed and active electorate. Will anyone listen?

Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-399-18002-6
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2017




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