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Dream: Re-imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy Paperback – January 8, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: New Press (January 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595580492
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595580498
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #899,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Arguing that "fantasy and spectacle have become the property of fascism," theorist, performer and activist Duncombe asserts that progressives should "build a politic that embraces the dreams of people and fashion spectacles that give those dreams form." His persuasive and pyrotechnic display of radical political thinking draws on a quirky mix of models—celebrity culture, the video game Grand Theft Auto and Umberto Eco's idea of opera aperta or free interpretation of art—to delineate how progressives can convey their message to a larger audience. What makes this polemic both inventive and exciting is its author's love of high and popular culture, which allows for deft juxtapositions of cultural icons like Bette Davis, Charles Baudelaire, Dungeons and Dragons and Tony Soprano. While many of his arguments have a flashy aura, Duncombe (The Bobbed-Haired Bandit) also makes incisive observations, such as that Cindy Sheehan and Rosa Parks had significant political experience before they entered the public eye or that politics rests as much on the imagination as reality. Noting that much current progressive writing retools old modes of thought, he persuasively and entertainingly argues that "if we really want to change reality, then we have to try and do something different." (Jan. 8)
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Review

His appeal to the Left to think outside the box is a refreshing voice. -- Tikkun, Rabbi Michael Lerner

Makes the case that spectacle can be an ethical and sophisticated means of appealing to, even seducing, the American public. -- Village Voice, Emily Weinstein

One of those indispensable...books that progressives who are interested in strategies to achieve political power and goals must read. -- BuzzFlash

Reminds us of the passion and creativity of a left political tradition worth reclaiming. -- The Nation blog, Katrina vanden Huevel

This is not a wake-up call—what Duncombe asks of progressives is to dream better. -- Slate, Joshua Glenn

We should thank [Duncombe]: the progressive movement needs a lot more creative thinking if we're to win over the country. -- Huffington Post, Chuck Klosterman

[Duncombe] offers a re-imagined brand of progressivism, suggesting that his readers play politics a bit more like a video game. -- Boldtype, Justin Kazmark

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Keith Miller on January 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
While there is a lot of rumbling on the political left (or anyone who is not fanatically right) solutions are rarely put forward. The less than inspiring way that the Democrats triumphed this November (by default) makes this clear. Duncombe's book is one of the first books that takes as its model the possibility that joy and dreams can be fundamental in not only creating the models for solutions but more importantly making them a reality.

Written in an easy flowing yet provocative manner, "Dream" is a refreshing take on the current political dilemna for those who still believe in the antiquated ideas of Social justice, the environment, equality, fraternity, etc. The best part of the book is that it does so without harping endlessly on the faliures of the Bush administration. Instead, it proposes that dreaming has been the source of real political action and transformation from Ghandi to Dr. King and should be the source of our current political action. It is inspiring and should be read by anyone who is both interested in politics and has a heart and a dream.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Thomas A. Limoncelli on December 16, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While everyone else bemoans that liberals have "no new ideas", Duncombe reminds us of how things used to be when progressives inspired us with the dream of a better world, how we lost that ability to dream, and how to get it back.

If you are tired of reading books about the problems with the Democrats and want to read a book that is full of solutions, get this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence M. Bogad on March 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
Not only is this book a must-read for anyone who agrees that progressives need to get creative in order to be effective--but aren't sure HOW...it's also really well written, a delight to read. Duncombe draws on a lifetime of inventive activism to write this tough-minded text. He challenges his readers to fight the underhanded tactics of the far Right, not with immobilizing "purity of means," nor with hackneyed rhetoric, but with an ethical spectacle that inspires hopeful action and addresses people's actual desires and fears. As a progressive who thinks about politics as performance, and tries to put these kind of creative ideas into practice, I found Duncombe's book invaluable.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. R. Harvey on October 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is very compelling--one of the best books on cultural studies and contemporary theory I've ever read. It articulates many points that needed to be said to the left about their stunted approach to political spectacle, something that the right has so exploited of late. Critical and relevant, the book reads like a revitalization of progressive thinking that is unafraid to make bold claims which make sense in millennial society but are reminiscent of the refreshing radicalism of the 1960s.
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