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Lying Down with the Lions: A Public Life from the Streets of Oakland to the Halls of Power Paperback – February 9, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; First Printing edition (February 9, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807043192
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807043196
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,551,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Dellums's first calling was to be a social worker. He found his second after a client inspired him "to get at the causes, rather than the symptoms, of individual dysfunction." Thus began his three-decade career as a leading progressive politician and social worker for the nation--or "black male bomb-thrower from Berkeley," as one congressman put it. In this overly earnest apologia, Dellums explains his many radical positions and how he stuck to them. He spends the most time on his greatest victories: helping promote the Congressional Black Caucus and pushing for U.S. sanctions against South Africa. He doesn't forget his failures, though, showing instead how they were in some ways successes. For example, the annual CBC alternative budget was ignored legislatively, but it earned "the respect, if not the support, of key members of the House." And if Dellums failed to kill the B-2 bomber program, he at least won "a partial victory--limiting the production of the planes." Such relentless optimism may seem to some like a political defense mechanism, but according to Dellums, it's a necessary trait for the progressive. For "the challenge is not so much to prevail at the moment as it is to remain faithful to the ideas and to the struggle, and to refuse to yield to the powerful temptation of cynicism." Although he frequently teeters on the brink of self-hagiography--the pitfall of all political memoirs--and his recounting (with the help of longtime aide Halterman) of political battles can be dry, Dellums shows that he's met this challenge well. Photos. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Dellums retired in 1998 after spending 27 years as a progressive Democratic member of the House of Representatives, faithfully representing the diverse ethnic, racial, student, and gay populations that largely comprised his district of Berkeley, CA, or "Berzerkeley," as its detractors called it in the early 1970s. This engaging and informative autobiography relates Dellums's lack of success in a school system that marginalized blacks and his failure to be appointed to Marine Office Candidate School because of his race. Despite these incidents, Dellums did not resort to hatred and enjoyed a distinguished career in politics in part because he was able to work with conservatives who respected him for his unswerving dedication to human rights and peace. Dellums's significant accomplishments include becoming the first African American to chair the House Armed Services Committee, serving as an original member of the Congressional Black Caucus and leading the successful legislative fight against the repressive system of apartheid in South Africa. This true American success story is recommended for all public libraries and strongly so for Black History Month collections.AKarl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Elif Uysal on May 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Dellum is a humanist and intellectual, who has lived through extremely unjust treatment while leading African Americans to political equality. All intellectuals, and every conscientous person in general, have a lot to learn from his dignified and persistent struggle, through his witty and humorous story-telling.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Davis on September 4, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Forget your ideology, reader; this is a terrific book. Written by the most left-wing member of Congress, Lying Down takes you on an exciting journey that was Ron Dellums' career. Whether opposing Reagan's military buildup or denouncing apartheid and the Gulf War, Dellums stays true to his principles.

As a political science junkie, I especially enjoyed the chapters on Dellums' congressional career. Though an ultraliberal, Dellums is pragmatic enough to form coalitions with conservatives of both parties to advance his agenda. What was impressive is Dellums' willingness to admit when he failed, or atleast only partly succeeded. This is a wonderful book that I highly recommend.
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