From Publishers Weekly
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.
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*Starred Review* Moyers, best known for his show on PBS, is also a skilled orator who has for decades been sharing his thoughts on democracy with diverse audiences. This collection of speeches offers a conscientious, passionate examination of those principles and ideals that rightly provoke pride in America and the shortcomings that should evoke shame, as Moyers points to assaults on the U.S. Constitution, a growing divide between the rich and the poor, and weakening of press independence. This collection reflects Moyers’ understanding of the importance of getting things right—not just the facts but the tone and tenor of the time and the sensibilities of the people. The collection also reflects his understanding of the importance of setting things right. He recalls a boyhood spent in a loving and religious small Texas town, where he was oblivious to the mistreatment of black citizens. He offers moving tributes to giants who upheld the highest ideals of democracy and simple human decency, including William Sloane Coffin, Hubert H. Humphrey, Lady Bird Johnson, and Barbara Jordan. He begins each essay with the context of time then and now in the continuum of an examination of American ideals in separate sections devoted to public service, history, politics, the media, and religion. Fans of his television show will hear Moyers’ well-modulated voice in these thoughtful and thought-provoking speeches and lectures. --Vanessa Bush