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Moyers on Democracyby Bill Moyers
Synopses & Reviews
Bill Moyers on America today:
“Here in the first decade of the twenty-first century the story that becomes Americas dominant narrative will shape our collective imagination and our politics for a long time to come. In the searching of our souls demanded by this challenge . . . kindred spirits across the nation must confront the most fundamental liberal failure of the current era: the failure to embrace a moral vision of America based on the transcendent faith that human beings are more than the sum of their material appetites, our country is more than an economic machine, and freedom is not license but responsibilitythe gift we have received and the legacy we must bequeath.
“Although our sojourn in life is brief, we are on a great journey. For those who came before us and for those who follow, our moral, political, and religious duty to make sure that this nation, which was conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all are equal under the law, is in good hands on our watch.”
from “For Americas Sake”
People know Bill Moyers mostly from his many years of path-breaking journalism on television. But he is also one of Americas most sought-after public speakers. His appearances draw sell-out crowds across the country and are among the most reproduced on the Web. “And one reason,” writes noted journalist Bill McKibben, “is that Moyers pulls no punches. His understanding of Americas history is at least as deep as his understanding of Christian tradition, which is an integral part of his background . . . With his feet firmly planted in the deepest American traditions, Bill Moyers is helping to keep alive an oratorical tradition that is fading after two centuries. Trained by his career in broadcasting, he writes for the ear, his cadences and his repetitions timed to bring an audience to full realization of its role and its power.”
And that is the message of this book. Moyers on Democracy collects many of Bill Moyerss most moving statements to connect the dots on what is happening to our countrythe twinned growth of private wealth and public squalor, the assault on our Constitution, the undermining of the electoral process, the accelerating class war against ordinary (and vulnerable) Americans inherent in the growth of economic inequality, the dangers of an imperial executive, the attack on the independence of the press, the despoiling of the earth we share as our common giftand to rekindle the readers conviction that “the gravediggers of democracy will not have the last word.” Richly insightful and alive with a fierce, abiding love for our country, Moyers on Democracy is essential reading in this fateful presidential year.
"Veteran journalist and author Moyers (Moyers on America, The Power of Myth) staunchly attacks conservative government as one of 'millions of Americans who are restless to get on with their revolution.' In this volume-a collection of speeches, addresses, talks and lectures from as far back as the '80s-Moyers argues that participatory citizenship breathes life into American democracy, and whatever undermines active citizenship threatens to destroy the system. Moyers reminds readers that the U.S. stands 'on the shoulders of brave ghosts,' and challenges them to treat, with courage, the country's socio-political ills. The author provides illustrative portraits of dear friends like Fred Friendly and Hubert Humphrey, positioning himself among passionate journalists and left-leaning politicians. Some may recoil from his lobbyist outrage (they 'hide... behind the flag while ripping off a country in crisis'), but his long-lived devotion to the American ideal of self-governance, on the whole, guides him well. His insight, sweeping political and historical expertise, and unflinching defense of his ideals should captivate both scholars and concerned citizens, though it's more likely to appeal to those already on Moyers's wavelength." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Like many media celebrities, Bill Moyers occasionally gives speeches. Unlike many, he pours out his heart. And his heart, as PBS fans know, beats with a rare combination of unabashed liberalism and the fervor of the deeply churched. So the electricity pulsing through this collection of 28 addresses to conventions, awards dinners and the like is the sensation (at least for those who agree with him)... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) that he is engaged in truth telling: saying what cannot be said, yet must be said. Moyers' main topics are democracy, money and media. 'Money is choking democracy to death,' he says, while the 'compliant establishment media' look on. Huge disparities in wealth have turned our shining city upon a hill into a 'gated community whose privileged occupants ... are removed from the common life of the country.' While ordinary citizens watch their pensions and job security evaporate, the top 1 percent of households now has more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined. 'Freedom in America,' Moyers says, 'has come to mean the freedom of the rich to get richer even as millions of Americans are thrown overboard.'" Reviewed by Alan Cooperman, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
(hide most of this review)
Bill Moyers is fighting mad about the betrayal of our best democratic ideals by the Bush administration, and in this book he delivers a crucial message about America’s need to reconnect with our constitutional ideals and rich history of reform as we prepare for the 2008 presidential race.
In this collection of blisteringly eloquent speeches on the state of our nation, timely topics addressed include the proper place of religion in public life; the mounting environmental crisis; the struggle to keep public television and radio free of political manipulation and ideological censorship; the appalling culture of corruption and influence-peddling that has nearly highjacked Washington; the heedless, disastrous policies of the Bush administration in Iraq and many other areas.
Collected, these speeches prove definitively that Bill Moyers is our Indispensable Man and our political conscience.
About the Author
BILL MOYERS was one of the organizers of the Peace Corps, Press Secretary under President Lyndon Johnson from 1965 until 1967, publisher of Newsday, senior correspondent for CBS News, and producer of many of public television's groundbreaking series. He is the winner of more than thirty Emmy Awards, and the author of the bestselling books Listening to America, A World of Ideas, Healing and the Mind, and Moyers on America. In April 2007 Bill Moyers returned to PBS with his weekly show Bill Moyers Journal.
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