Countless books have been written about the civil rights movement, but far less attention has been paid to what happened after the dramatic passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 and the turbulent forces it unleashed. Give Us the Ballot tells this story for the first time.
Berman brings the struggle over voting rights to life through meticulous archival research, in-depth interviews with major figures in the debate, and incisive on-the-ground reporting. In vivid prose, he takes the reader from the demonstrations of the civil rights era to the halls of Congress to the chambers of the Supreme Court. At this important moment in history, Give Us the Ballot provides new insight into one of the most vital political and civil rights issues of our time.
In 2008, Barack Obama's groundbreaking presidential campaign seemingly rewrote all the rules in electoral politics and heralded a new progressive era in America. What has become of the thrilling grassroots political movement that defined Obama's campaign and reshaped the electoral map? Ari Berman's Herding Donkeys answers and illuminates this vital question, mapping the evolution of modern American politics from Howard Dean to the Tea Party, and painting a vivid picture of the fight for political power in America today.
Expertly taking us from the bloody streets of Selma to the current counterrevolution against the voting rights of black and poor Americans, Ari Berman reminds us that democracy can never be taken for granted, especially at a time when the courts are more than willing to abet efforts to limit the right to vote.
"Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act comes this deep dive into the legacy of the civil rights movement and why we're still fighting for the right for everyone to have a slice of the political power pie."
"Berman does a superb job of making the history of the right to vote in America not only easily understandable, but riveting...This is the best kind of popular history-literate, passionate, and persuasive, balancing detail with accessibility."
"Ari Berman's Give Us the Ballot is a fascinating, if also infuriating, chronicle of the modern era in voting rights - a time when those hard-won rights are suddenly in great jeopardy. Comprehensive, fair-minded and wise, the book tells a haunting story of rights won and rights lost."
"The Voting Rights Act was signed into law 50 years ago, but according to journalist Berman, the fight for equality in voting is still taking place."
"An incisive look at the many issues surrounding the right to vote....This emotional book runs the gamut... Not just a compelling history, but a cry for help in the recurring struggle to gain what is supposed to be an inalienable right."
“In his debut, Berman gives the reader an intriguing behind-the-scenes look at how the Obama campaign built on the grassroots movement that had catapulted [Howard] Dean to prominence . . . Engaging and balanced—a stand-out book.”
“While a scoop-rich tome like John Heilemann and Mark Halperin’s Game Change can tell us a lot about how campaigns are won and lost from the top down, Berman’s more thoughtful book is equally good fun in telling the story of the election from the bottom up.”
“Berman’s book is a worthwhile document of a American political revolution.”
“Berman’s book is the Howard Zinn version [of the Democratic comeback], the story of the people who were pushed out of the frame.”
“Berman, a youthful writer for the Nation, knows his politics, and it shows.”
“Berman’s voluminous reporting…chronicles how the Democrats’ harnessing of grass-roots activism ultimately propelled Barack Obama to the White House in 2008.”
“Superb … draws back the curtain on what has actually been happening in the door-knocking, home-entering, meaningful-conversation-having politics of the last five years.”
“Mr. Berman, a smart young liberal journalist who writes for the Nation, isn’t merely a pundit hopping on the Obama bandwagon a bit too late. His book—about how grass-roots progressives helped to revive Democratic fortunes and make Mr. Obama president—is a well-reported tour de force that would be worth reading as a snapshot in time even if the Democrats went the way of the Whigs after November.”
“Lively [and] instructive, in some ways especially now.”
“Berman approaches his subject with a measured objectivity, digging into local political divides and peculiarities with a gumshoe’s just-the-facts approach.”