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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book is for the masses not those who follow politics
As a Political Science professor, I was extremely interested in the 3rd installment of the landmark 2006 work of COVENANT WITH BLACK AMERICA. Having read all three books and knowing the fundamentals of government, I recognize the importance and urgency of holding the elected officials accountable for the promises they make. The book is well organized - laying out the...
Published on March 18, 2009 by Deltareviewer

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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I found this depressing
This book is apparently the third in a series. The first two, Covenant with Black America and The Covenant in Action were aimed at the African-American community (of which I am not a member). This third--and final?--in the series is aimed at a larger audience, I'm assuming because we now have an African-American president who is accountable to all of us. The book tells...
Published on March 8, 2009 by LaLoren


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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I found this depressing, March 8, 2009
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This book is apparently the third in a series. The first two, Covenant with Black America and The Covenant in Action were aimed at the African-American community (of which I am not a member). This third--and final?--in the series is aimed at a larger audience, I'm assuming because we now have an African-American president who is accountable to all of us. The book tells real-life stories in areas of concern like health care, education, the economy, etc.; sets out various possible solutions; then provides a checklist for how each player--including we individuals--can be held accountable.

I didn't take much away from this book, but to be fair, it had a lot to do with the timing of my reading. First, in the midst of this severe economic downturn, tragic tales like people losing their medical insurance elicited not my usual empathy, but a panicking fear about my own situation. Second, I didn't see any of the authors' solutions being particularly workable, and third, the list of things individuals could do were pretty much the same as they've always been--call your Congressman, vote, get involved. Nice when you are talking about saving the park down the street from development, but paltry in light of the issues we face today.

At another time I may well have appreciated this book. Reading it now I simply found it depressing.Accountable: Making America as Good as Its Promise
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book is for the masses not those who follow politics, March 18, 2009
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As a Political Science professor, I was extremely interested in the 3rd installment of the landmark 2006 work of COVENANT WITH BLACK AMERICA. Having read all three books and knowing the fundamentals of government, I recognize the importance and urgency of holding the elected officials accountable for the promises they make. The book is well organized - laying out the issues one by one while providing simple solutions. Smiley also offers ideas on how citizens can effectively hold governmental officials accountable.

Now realize that this book isn't the be all end all in solutions but it does serve as an effective starting point for the average citizen. And believe me when I say, that the "average citizen" isn't familiar with the basic history surrounding these common place issues - health care; education; justice; economy; environment, energy & infrastructure; and democracy. The last chapter confronts the promises made during the presidential election cycle - presenting the promise, possible solutions and accountability factors. The notes provided in the back of the book will assist in further investigation of the issues allowing educated citizens to come up with their conclusions. While this book doesn't supply many new ideas or solutions it does give everyday citizens something to think about. Read it and see what it inspires you to discuss - so far I believe it's working.

Deltareviewer
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars pretty basic, July 23, 2009
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This would be a good beginner's guide to American politics, especially for younger people just getting interested in current affairs. Tavis Smiley explains the political system in a fundamental and simple manner, using the Obama administration as his inspiration/medium. However, if you are someone who follows politics and/or current affairs normally and already have a fairly good understanding of how the political system is designed to work then this reads a little obvious. If you're looking for a deeper perspective on american politics and/or the inner workings of Washington or the Obama Administration, probably better to pass.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Political Must Read, September 18, 2009
Accountable, the third book in a series designed to help citizens understand their role in the political system, hits the nail on the head with several key issues. The book brings up several of the most important issues in America today: Health Care, Education, The Unequal Justice System, The Economy, The Environment and Energy, Democracy and how we can keep election fraud from happening again. The book not only points out what is wrong or right with these systems, it offers solutions. So many books offer no solutions to the problems they present. This one does, and each chapter ends with a checklist of things that we as citizens can do to help correct these situations. Every American should read this book and get involved, even if only a small level.

The book also ends with a lengthy list of quotes that Obama has made pertaining to each of the above mentioned chapters. At the end of the list of quotes is a checklist where we can keep record of how many of his election promises he has fulfilled.

Some of the stories in this book are surprising. People dumped from their health care plans.. the list of disenfranchised felons by state is disheartening. The chapter on rigged elections and gerrymandering will likely be an eye opener for some even if it seems like old news to others. This book will give you a look at the real America, and hopefully it will help us, citizens and government alike, to fix it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Well Intentioned, April 8, 2009
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"Accountable," by Tavis Smiley, is a well-intentioned book that discusses a variety of issues confronting America. Health care, unequal justice, education, the economy, the environment, and democracy are the main areas Smiley addresses. Each area is discussed, with stats and specific case studies accompanying each chapter. Then, at the end of each chapter, a checklist of questions for legislators, the President, local officials, ourselves, etc. is offered.

The format and organization of "Accountable" is really nice. My main problem is that I really did not learn a whole lot from reading the book since it is fairly shallow and does not present a good variety of differing viewpoints. Also, the checklist of questions at the end of each chapter are what I call "no duh" questions. For example, at the end of the chapter on education some of the questions include: (to legislators) Do you have a plan to attract, hire, and retain strong teachers?; (to you and I) Do I have Internet access at home?; and (to you and I) Do I know the children with whom my children are friends? Perhaps people who are devoid of independent thought and are out of touch with society might find this stuff compelling, but I found much of what is in the book to be incredibly elementary.

Overall, I appreciate that Mr. Smiley is trying to get Americans to think through issues and then address those issues, however "Accountable" is so basic and shallow that I cannot recommend it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding Obama's Goals, May 7, 2009
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Every American intelligent enough to vote should read this book.

These are the elements that make this book a must read: First, each of Obama's campaign promises are quoted along with descriptions of present problems and shortcomings. Second,the steps necessary to achieve Obama's goals (promises) are outlined. Third, methods for citizens to secure government accountability are detailed. Finally, the book reveals why it is every citizen's responsibility to make America as good as its promise.

Highly inspiring, and not without humor, "Accountable" has been written to unify and give hope to all Americans. Start reading this book and it will be difficult for you to put it down until you have read the very last page.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm not sure why we need this book..., March 12, 2009
By 
L. F. Smith (E. Wenatchee, WA) - See all my reviews
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I understand the idea behind this book-- that our elected officials need to be accountable to us, and we need to be accountable for our own actions-- but do we really need a book to tell us this?

The book is the third in a series. The first two were specific to the concerns of African Americans, but this one is more general. It consists of short chapters about education, medical care, the environment, etc., each of which follows a pattern: A couple of narratives describe the hardships that some individuals are having and briefly explain why they arise in the present system. Then a number of solutions are proposed and various accountability checks are suggested.

Pretty standard stuff, and that's the problem for me. First, the analysis-- such as it is-- is pretty scanty. It does not follow that because some unfortunate teacher got beaten by a student in a school that there is a general problem with students beating teachers. This kind of focus on personal stories is, to me, both irrelevant and irritating. I don't live in Oprahland; I'm capable of understanding data and statistical analysis of complex issues. I suspect most people who would pick up a book like this are, too.

Second, not one of the recommended "accountability" solutions is likely to make much of a difference in the long run. For every issue, they boil down to making the issue a priority, showing leadership in dealing with the issue, and reforming the system, which almost always means spending more money. There literally was not one single unique or original idea here. Further, if everything must be a high priority, then, really, nothing is a priority.

It's not that I disagree with the authors; it's that everything they say is fairly self-evident. I really don't know why we need this book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Redundant, very little substance, July 21, 2011
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Tavis Smiley has written a series of books that are supposed to make the president "accountable." I am not a fan of this series, because it seems as though Mr. Smiley has a personal vendetta against President Obama.

As I read this book, I wondered why all of a sudden the first African American president must be held accountable. All presidents and other members of government should be held accountable, as should voters.

I think this book is very subjective and lacks concrete action steps on how to execute a plan and how to obtain the resources to make the plan successful.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grading the President, but also others in the Public Sphere, March 20, 2009
By 
Roger D. Launius (Washington, D.C., United States) - See all my reviews
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Tavis Smiley is right about the need to return to some semblance of accountability in the United States. We have all seen its failure in both our national and our local settings. For example, what should our reaction be to the complete disconnect between the economic meltdown of 2008-2009 and the reward in the form of bonuses to those who made decisions that proved disastrous for their companies and the larger economy? Smiley appropriately calls for holding people accountable.

In this book he surveys the landscape of major issues in society: health care; education; the system of justice; the economy; the environment, energy, and infrastructure; democratic processes; and national identity. Most of these areas include a set of case studies and accountable assessment checklists. This last item is especially interesting because it offers statements of what President Obama said he would do during his campaign and delineating ways in which we might grade his efforts. Additionally, Smiley offers checklists for various government officials, community leaders, faith-based organizations, and individuals within this society.

The lengthiest part of the book, a chapter entitled "Promises, Promises...," begins with the statement, "It is the job of politicians to make promises, but it is the job of the people who elect them to make sure they keep them" (p. 171). He follows that with a series of charts laying out promises made and a method for tracking the success or failure in achieving them. In this process, we may hold them accountable for their actions. Through 90 pages, this part of the book may be the most interesting in demonstrating the path toward the future.

I look forward to following the progress made in keeping promises made on the campaign trail. I would add, and I believe Tavis Smiley would agree, that we also need to give credit for responses to unforeseen problems that arise, as well as credit for working to resolve challenges that might not have been a part of the campaign process.

"Accountable: Making America as Good as its Promise" is a fine exploration of where we are in our society and how it might be changed for the better, with steps for fostering and assessing that progress.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Need Accountability, April 28, 2012
By 
B Kuehlhorn (Schaumburg, IL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Accountable: Making America as Good as Its Promise (Hardcover)
I heard Tavis Smiley wrote 2 drafts for this book. 2008 election decided which was published. That intrigued me. I expected to read a thoughtful presentation of the President's promises. It exceeded my expectations. Mr. Smiley clearly presented President Obama's position. He used emotional and specific examples to explain President Obama's promises. This is not a criticism.

A primary job of Federal Government is National Security. Mr. Smiley does not cover any issues about National Security and President Obama's promises.

My primary reason to read this book is to prepare for 2012 Presidential Election. I expect Mr. Smiley to hold President Obama accountable. When will Mr. Smiley provide his own account for President Obama? I expect Mr Smiley to score President Obama on the scale provided:

Has fulfilled ALL his promises
Has fulfilled SOME promises
FAILED to fulfilled some promises
Has proceeded contrary to his promises

Excuses should not be used to improve President Obama's score. Excuses are for losers.

Mr. Smiley has a web site. He should post results of his Accountable.

My rating will drop to 1 if Mr. Smiley is unable to hold President Obama accountable.
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Accountable: Making America as Good as Its Promise
Accountable: Making America as Good as Its Promise by Tavis Smiley (Hardcover - February 17, 2009)
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