Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together

by Van Jones

Paperback, 2017

Call number

320.51 JON



Ballantine Books (2017), 256 pages


"A passionate manifesto that exposes hypocrisy on both sides of the political divide and points a way out of the tribalism that is tearing America apart--by the CNN political contributor and host hailed as "a star of the 2016 campaign" (The New York Times) who coined the term"whitelash" Van Jones burst into the American consciousness during the 2016 presidential campaign with an unscripted, truth-telling style and an already established history of bridge-building across party lines. His election night commentary became a viral sensation. A longtime progressive activist with deep roots in the conservative South, Jones has made it his mission to challenge voters and viewers to stand in one another's shoes and disagree constructively. Now, in Beyond the Messy Truth, Jones offers a blueprint for transforming our collective anxiety into meaningful change. Tough on Donald Trump but showing respect and empathy for his supporters, Jones takes aim at the failures of both parties before and after Trump's victory. He urges both sides to abandon the politics of accusation and focus on real solutions. Calling us to a deeper patriotism, he shows us how to get down to the vital business of solving, together, some of our toughest problems. "The entire national conversation today can be reduced to a simple statement--'I'm right, and you're wrong,'" Jones has said. But the truth is messier; both sides have flaws. Both parties have strayed from their highest principles and let down their core constituencies. Rejecting today's political tribalism, Jones issues a stirring call for a new "bipartisanship from below." Recognizing that tough challenges require the best wisdom from both liberals and conservatives, he points us toward practical answers to problems that affect us all regardless of region or ideology: rural and inner-city poverty, unemployment, addiction, unfair incarceration, and the devastating effects of the pollution-based economy on both coal country and our urban centers. In explaining how he arrived at his views, Jones shares behind-the-scenes memories from his decades spent marching and protesting on behalf of working people, inspiring stories of ordinary citizens who became champions of their communities, and little-known examples of cooperation that have risen from the fog of partisan conflict. In his quest for positive solutions, Van Jones encourages us to set fire to our old ways of thinking about politics and come together where the pain is greatest. Advance praise for Beyond the Messy Truth "Part manifesto, part manual for activism, [Beyond the Messy Truth] is enlivened by case histories and personal anecdotes that serve as support for the author's assertions. The author proposes common projects that may bring opposing sides together. [and] offers concrete suggestions to revive democracy, heal culture wars, and prevent a Trump victory in 2020."--Kirkus Reviews "Van Jones is a light in the darkness when we need it most. Beyond the Messy Truth breaks with the tribalism of today's politics and offers us a way forward. In the tradition of the great bridge builders of our past, Van's love for this country and all its people shines through."--Cory Booker, U.S. senator, New Jersey Includes an invaluable resource of contacts, books, media, and organizations for bipartisan bridge-building and problem solving"--… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Susan.Macura
I have watched Van Jones on CNN and have always been impressed by his insights into a myriad of events. Now that I have read his book, I am even more impressed by him. In today's world of us v. them where too many are simply blaming the other side for every problem, this book was a breath of fresh air! Jones is right - we are all to blame for the mess we are in - and it is up to us to fix it! I was very impressed by his open letter to liberals and his open letter to conservatives. He provides some sound criticisms and advice to each group so that we can move forward as a nation. I also loved his stories about his history with Prince - no red or blue - just purple. How profound an observation this was. His conclusion was spot on. I would recommend this book to everyone, but especially to those of us who love politics and our country.… (more)
LibraryThing member billsearth
This book is a "how to"
It addresses the current fear and hate, giving analogies and personal experiences by the author. He suggests both sides need to listen more to the other side. Then they can come together and heal the country back to a positive-seeking cooperative nation.
LibraryThing member nyiper
There is nothing better about a book like this than the examples an author provides and Jones is wonderful about filling in the details behind his point(s) of view with stories, many of which are from his own experiences. The lists in the back with descriptions of organizations that are out there to help the public get involved are exactly what is needed for readers of this book to at least begin the process of helping to get rid of the "messiness" of the current "truth" we are living in.… (more)




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