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The Uprising: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street and Washington Hardcover – May 27, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The signs are out there and Sirota believes they imply a forthcoming wide-ranging insurrection. From shifting politics in Montana's state government to the influence of a third political party in New York to the role and positioning of socialist senator Bernie Sanders, to the rise of a militia guarding the Mexican border; moments of dissent, resistance, and change are registering all over the United States. Sirota is quick to point out the more problematic and contradictory issues with these blips on the radar, but he also ably explains the significance of these events in relation to the larger picture. Lloyd James delivers a solid rendering of the text with a consistent tone that provides nuance and subtlety, especially in Sirota's more reflective moments. He provides some personality to characters but not much more than the text dictates, even when dealing with more well-known public figures. A Crown hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 28).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.


"Sirota reports cleverly and in pleasing detail about a complex world of political conflict"
Washington Post

“Audacious. . . . Sirota has a true gift for phrase-making and the pithy comment.”
Providence Journal

"Sirota (Hostile Takeover ) chronicles how ordinary citizens on the right and the left are marshaling their frustrations with the government into uprisings across the country and analyzes the effectiveness and longevity of their efforts. Citing developments as disparate as progressive political victories in the Montana state senate and the rise of the California Minutemen militia, the author weaves entertaining case studies, keeping his tone conversational, the narrative fast-paced and the content accessible. Sirota hits numerous high notes, including a fine elucidation of continuing Democratic support for the Iraq War, a breakdown of the "echo chamber" qualities of beltway television shows like Hardball and salient observations of how and why the Democratic Party severed ties with the liberal uprising of the '60s era. According to Sirota, "The activism and energy frothing today is disconnected and atomized. The only commonality between it all is rage." It remains to be seen whether this rage will snowball into something large enough to upset entrenched political systems, but for the time being, this book presents a rousing account of the local uprisings already in effect."
Publishers Weekly

"After so many decades of fake  populism--of revolts by the wealthy, red-state fantasies, and stock-picking  grandmas--could we finally be looking at the real thing? In this compelling  book, rooted in history but as contemporary as this morning's newspaper, David  Sirota gives us reason to hope."
—Thomas Frank,  author of What's the Matter with Kansas? and The  Wrecking Crew

"David Sirota is honest, uncompromising, passionate, and a brilliant communicator. He is the most important progressive voice we have in this country. The Uprising should be read by anyone who wants to understand exactly how the ordinary person has been sold out by the political system."
 —Matt Taibbi, national political correspondent for Rolling Stone and author of The Great  Derangement

 "This book engages in the nearly lost art of reporting to tell us what's going on in the many places that the elite media can't be bothered to look. It chronicles just how fed up Americans have become, and nominates a few heroes for them to turn to: that great senator Bernie Sanders, or the activist nun Pat Daly, for instance. It cheered me a good deal to read how many Americans are finally starting to fight back against the rule of greed that has been our lot for too many years."
 —Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy and The Bill  McKibben Reader

  "With a historian’s and a journalist’s storytelling gifts, David Sirota describes the populist tide that so many elites fear and ignore at all our peril: multinational corporations that rip off local communities as if they were resource colonies, a national security state that manipulates our young to bleed for that same empire, and a political elite more concerned with preserving its power than empowering citizens to become self-governing. Since leaving the Beltway behind, David Sirota has become a must-read chronicler in the populist tradition."  
—Tom Hayden, author of The Tom Hayden Reader and  Ending the War in Iraq
"David Sirota details with clarity the sharp knife of corporate greed pointed at the throat of our democracy--and the populist uprising that may thwart the threat if enough Americans heed his call. If you love your country, buy The Uprising, read it, and act."
—Joe Trippi, chief presidential campaign strategist for Howard Dean and John Edwards and author of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

"David Sirota is a clear-headed and principled hell-raiser for economic justice. More like him and we'll have a real uprising on our hands. "
—Naomi Klein, author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1 edition (May 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307395634
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307395634
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,216,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Sirota is a journalist, TV commentator and nationally syndicated weekly newspaper columnist. His weekly column is based at the San Francisco Chronicle, Portland Oregonian and The Seattle Times and now appears in newspapers with a combined daily circulation of more than 1.6 million readers. He has written three books, the latter of which became the basis for the National Geographic Channel's major miniseries on the 1980s. He has contributed to The New York Times Magazine, Harper's and The Nation. He appears regularly as a guest on MSNBC and Current TV and has been featured on The Colbert Report and NBC's Last Call with Carson Daly. Sirota received a degree in journalism and political science from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. He lives in Denver with his wife, Emily; his son Isaac; and his dog, Monty. Find his website at

You can schedule Sirota to appear at your book club, civic organization or local bookstore at his website at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 43 people found the following review helpful By L. Feld on June 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Excellent writers are like great chefs; you don't really need to know what they're writing/cooking to know you're in for a treat. In this case, we've got David Sirota riffing (and reporting) on how a bunch of "disconnected and atomized" rage is "frothing" in America.

Whether it's anti-illegal-immigrant vigilantes, frustrated high-tech workers, "blue chip revolutionaries," "Uprising Television" (or radio or blogs), netroots activists, the anti-tax movement or the anti-anti-tax movement, there certainly appear to be a lot of pissed off people out there in America today. Just look at polls that show 80%+ of people who feel the country's headed in the wrong direction. Look at the huge turnout in this year's presidential primaries -- particularly on the Democratic side -- and the upsurge in political energy being shown by people around the country. Look at the anger at the President, at the Congress, at many of our institutions.

The question is, does all this add up to a "populist uprising?" Even David Sirota is skeptical, but he certainly sees the potential for such an uprising, and apparently so does a nervous corporate American and insider political establishment. In the end, I'm not sure that Sirota has completely proved his thesis, that "the disparate pieces of this uprising are all part of one enraged backlash." However, after reading his well-written, well-researched, informative, and entertaining book, I'm far less likely to write off that thesis as a definite possibility in coming years.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Brosky on July 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Well-written, better than "Hostile Takeover." You can tell now by reading this book that Sirota has more confidence in his writing style and isn't afraid to pepper his stories with a very human narrator, something that's important in titles like this where readers are given a very close-up look at a particular institution. The book is extremely informative (I had never even heard of "Third-Party Fusion" before reading this book, and now I want to know how I can bring it to Wisconsin!), and the intimate glimpses inside Washington and everywhere else shows readers various sides of issues that we don't normally see in the corporate press. I'm actually quite surprised to see another reviewer attack Sirota because of his chapter on the Minutemen on the border. I thought the chapter was actually quite fair, maybe TOO fair given how many of the people he meets seem to be struggling to hide their racism, but that's just one opinion. Either way, it's an intimate glimpse into a movement, just like every other chapter, and every chapter offers something we can learn from.
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42 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Ronald T. Shuman on June 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The Populist Uprising has a long and rich history in this country, and in his new book noted author David Sirota demonstrates that this movement is alive and well (on both the Left and the Right) is alive and well. Sirota is a wonderful political writer who possesses that rare knack of being able to clearly outline his position without a lot of jargon that so plagues other political authors. Love him or hate him, Sirota has a lot to say, and this is one book that should be read by everyone.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By cybercitizen on July 16, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
David Sirota is a writer full of insight and grace. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and received a rare transfusion of hope. He helps sort out the wheat from the chaff, the real progressives from the corporatists. Because of this, corporatist minions are popping up and entering their reviews to drag his ratings down. Sirota is a wordsmith who can apply the insights of Drew Westen and provide a how-to manual for communicating with the public.
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28 of 40 people found the following review helpful By S. Sherman on January 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
David Sirota has toured the country in pursuit of'The Uprising', an upwelling of anger at the destructive power of corporations in American political life. On the plus side, Sirota (currently a Montana resident, apparently) travels far from the coasts that dominate middle-class liberals' imagination. Sirota seems most comfortable with what I would describe as 'insider/outsiders', people with views outside of the centrism dominant among the punditocracy, but who have created some sort of establishment beachhead. Thus he finds a governor in Montana willing to confront the anti-tax pseudo-uprising with hardball tactics of his own. He praises the 'fusion-party' Working Families Party in New York State, who are increasingly a force statewide. He praises three Senators, Bernie Sanders (the 'socialist' from Vermont), Ohio's Sherrod Brown, and Montana's Jim Tester, who disregard the advice that the best strategy for Democrats is to act like polite Republicans. He admires shareholder activists who attempt to force Exxon Mobil to confront global warming. He is fascinated by Lou Dobbs 'mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore' routine. He is critical of the antiwar movement: United for Peace and Justice is portrayed as hopelessly 'outsider' in its protest-oriented strategy, while Americans Against Escalation in Iraq is too insidery, perhaps merely cynically adhering to an 'anti-war' rhetoric to score points for Democrats. The Minutemen, the militia which 'guards' the US border (i.e. harassing immigrants) are portrayed as nostalgic for their time in Vietnam, and somewhat as closeted racists (really?). Bloggers, and those trying to organize high tech workers also earn chapters.Read more ›
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