They Rule: The 1% vs. Democracy

Routledge
Free sample

They Rule reflects on key political questions raised by the Occupy movement, showing how similar questions have been raised by previous generations of radical activists: who really owns and rules the US? Does it matter that the nation is divided by stark class disparities and a concentration of wealth in the hands of a few? Along the way, this book sharpens readers' sense of who the US oligarchy are, including how their fortunes have changed over the course of US history, how they live and think and how to detect and de-cloak them. They Rule is a masterful historical and political analysis, revealing what lies beneath the surface of US society and what ordinary people can do to bring about social change.
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About the author

Paul Street is an independent journalist, policy adviser, and historian. Formerly he was Vice President for Research and Planning at the Chicago Urban League. Among his recent books are "Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics" (Paradigm, 2008), "Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis: A Living Black Chicago History" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007), and "Segregated Schools: Educational Apartheid in Post-Civil Rights America" (Routledge, 2005). His many articles have appeared in the "Chicago Tribune"; "In These Times; Dissent; Z Magazine; Black Commentator; Monthly Review, Journal of American Ethnic History; Journal of Social History", and other publications.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Routledge
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Published on
Nov 17, 2015
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Pages
252
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ISBN
9781317250593
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Many Americans believe Barak Obama represents a hopeful future for America. But does he also reflect the American politics of the past? This book offers the broadest and best-informed understanding on the meaning of the "Obama phenomenon" to date. Paul Street was on the ground throughout the Iowa campaign, and his stories of the rising Obama phenomenon are poignant. Yet the author's background in American political history allows him to explore the deeper meanings of Obama's remarkable political career. He looks at Obama in relation to contemporary issues of class, race, war, and empire. He considers Obama in the context of our nation's political history, with comparisons to FDR, JFK, Bill Clinton, and other leaders. Street finds that the Obama persona, crafted by campaign consultants and filtered through dominant media trends, masks the "change" candidate's adherence to long-prevailing power structures and party doctrines. He shows how American political culture has produced misperceptions by the electorate of Obama's positions and values. Obama is no magical exception to the narrow-spectrum electoral system and ideological culture that have done so much to define and limit the American political tradition. Yet the author suggests key ways in which Obama potentially advances democratic transformation. Street makes recommendations on how citizens can productively respond to and act upon Obama's influence and the broader historical and social forces that have produced his celebrity and relevance. He also lays out a real agenda for change for the new presidential administration, one that addresses the recent failures of democratic politics.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER, NAMED BY THE TIMES AS ONE OF "6 BOOKS TO HELP UNDERSTAND TRUMP'S WIN" AND SOON TO BE A MAJOR-MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY RON HOWARD

"You will not read a more important book about America this year."—The Economist

"A riveting book."—The Wall Street Journal

"Essential reading."—David Brooks, New York Times

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.'s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history.

A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

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