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There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos: A Work of Political Subversion Paperback – August 19, 1998

4.8 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Revised, and with a New Introduction by the Author

"I am an agitator, and an agitator is the center post in a washing machine that gets the dirt out." --Jim Hightower

Hightower is mad as hell and he's not going to take it anymore! He's also funny as hell, and in this book he focuses his sharp Texas wit, populist passion, and native smarts on America's political, economic, scientific, and media establishments. In "There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos," Hightower shows not only what's wrong, but also how to fix it, offering specific solutions and calling for a new political movement of working families and the poor to "take America back from the bankers and bosses, the big shots and bastards."

About the Author

Jim Hightower is a political spark plug who has spent 25 years battling Washington and Wall Street on behalf of working families, consumers, environmentalists, small businesses and just plain folk. He confesses that he has been a practicing politician, serving two terms as Texas' elected agriculture commisioner. In addition to his popular radio broadcasts, his speechifying and all-around agitating, he publishes the biweekly political newsletter The Hightower Lowdown. His previous bestseller was There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1st edition (August 19, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060929499
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060929497
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,138,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The following article will appear in the April, 1998, edition of the Ashland, Ore., Lithiagraph:
(c) 1998 by Fred Flaxman
(used by permission of the author)
I just finished a book called "There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos" by someone who ought to know -- Texan Jim Hightower. I agree 100% with another Texan, Molly Ivins, who said: "If you don't read another book about what's wrong with this country for the rest of your life, read this one. I think it's the best and most important book about our public life I've read in years."
Hightower served two terms as Texas's elected agriculture commissioner. He has a weekday nationally syndicated radio program called "Hightower Radio: Live from the Chat & Chew" which, unfortunately, I've never heard since it isn't broadcast in my area. He also gives many speeches which have frequently been televised by C-SPAN, which I've never seen, unfortunately, because I don't have cable or satellite TV. And he publishes a biweekly political newsletter, "The Hightower Lowdown" which I've never read, unfortunately, because I spent my entire budget for reading materials to buy his $23 hardcover book.
One of the amazing things about Hightower's book, considering its deadly serious subject matter, is how outright funny it can be. It is an easy read, as well as an important one. Hightower has a folksy, breezy style. He knows how to be as entertaining as he is informative.
For example, Hightower discusses how the megacorporations have been taking over every aspect of our lives in the last few decades, from the media to the food supply, education, the politicians and the government.
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I voted for Jim Hightower (for Land Commissioner or something like that) way back when I'd just turned 18 and was able to vote for the first time. I'm very glad to see he's still fighting for the little guy. I live abroad, and whenever anyone asks where home is, I always used to proudly say, "Texas!" These days, it's getting harder and harder to be proud. At least with Bush the First, we could say, "Well, he's not really a Texan." But Junior...well, there's really no denying it, is there? He embodies every negative stereotype of the Texas millionaire.
But when I read Hightower, I remember all the good things about Texas, and about America, too. People like Jim Hightower and Molly Ivins make me proud to be a Texan and an American--people who cut through the lies and take on the big boys without a drop of fear in their hearts...just because it's the right thing to do.
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Format: Paperback
I just finished reading this book - and it's amazing. Hightower will make you laugh heartily while at the same time getting you very riled up at what's going on today. Besides his writing style, I found the most satisfying part of reading this book to be the tons of examples and statistics that he uses to uphold his opinions. Though you'll probably get more of a kick out of it if you're on the left end of the spectrum, I would recommend this book to everyone. Hightower definetley dosen't cater to the Democrats, in fact he chides Clinton's crew of "New Democrats" for selling out to corporate interests, which they have.
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Feeling disillusioned with the Democratic party, I turned to this book, and I am so glad I did. Hightower gives a rowdy look at the problems facing today's "two party system" that never fails to bring a smile to the reader's face. Since I am from the South, I loved the sayings and colloquialisms that dotted the pages as much as I craved the ideas they described. I was truly sad to finish the book--by the end, I not only felt encouraged to right the wrongs of society, but also refreshed to hear someone who has it together. Hightower gives us a view of capitalism that seems both revolutionary and strangely old-fashioned in that his are the views that many have harbored for years. I feel that this is a book everyone should read, even those who identify with Republican ideals. You will be surprised about how much you agree with Jim Hightower.
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I purchased this book out of mild interest to see who Jim Hightower was, I had little expectation that the book would hold much interest.
It is however an interesting attempt to forge a new notion of leftism. The reality of the party system is that most countries, which have single member constituencies have two party systems. Each party has a certain core of support and to gain electoral office the competition is over the middle range of voters. This leads to notions of parties being similar or having similar policies. Left wing parties have traditionally identified themselves by not having any substantive difference but by adopting certain issues to develop a veneer of being caring.
Hightower is critical of this, and he is critical of the American Democratic Party. He suggests that what is happening is that by phrasing policy in a narrow guise of rights rhetoric the Democrats are losing support of their traditional constituency which is basically keen on economic issues. He suggests that the drift to the right in US politics is because of working class or potential Democrat supporters drifting out of the system.
He further suggests that the "new left" not only has lost its constituency but it fails to try to reach potential voters. His section on the media is one of the more interesting in the book. He argues that the main way ideas are spread in modern America is through talk back radio. Talk back however is something that the right dominates because the left will not touch it. They are afraid to enter into dialogue with common people.
Hightower argues that the future of the left must be to develop "populist" policies which are aimed at the welfare of the vast majority of ordinary Americans.
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