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Blue Grit: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians Hardcover – April 5, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Who are the members of today's Democratic party, and how does the party serve them? What are the differences in funding between Democratic- and Republican-led efforts? How do the parties react to movements within their base-and how does this affect the outcome of elections? Disgruntled Democrat Flanders-author, journalist and Air America radio host-explores the answers to these and other questions on a cross-country tour of the Democratic party and its (nominal) members. Highlighting progressive victories taking place outside the party establishment, Flanders presents the lessons Democrats in power could learn from their constituents "if they were inclined to learn." In-depth analysis of movements from Utah's liberals to South Dakota's recent, successful anti-abortion campaign provides insight not only into campaign leaders, but into the role of funding, media and old fashioned grassroots-style activism. Flanders (Bushwomen) brings to this work enough data, recent history and progressive ideas-as well as wit, style and acerbic charm-to make this required reading for anyone looking to make sure "the Democratic party is finally serious" about a victory for progressives in 2008.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Blue Grit is a clarion call to progressive voters looking for a new direction. While many pundits continue to argue that the Democratic Party must race to the center in a desperate attempt to win back the White House, Flanders offers a compelling analysis of the strength of the modern progressive movement in America, showing us that the Democratic Party must not abandon its core progressive values and ideals, but capitalize on them to win. -- Donna Brazile

Blue Grit is pure political tonic, a stirring call-to-arms for progressives who feel they've been left out in the cold by their alleged allies. Laura Flanders offers a galvanizing vision of political democracy as it was meant to thrive: in the lives and stories of ordinary Americans. -- Michael Eric Dyson, author of Debating Race

In Blue Grit, Laura Flanders throws a verbal hand grenade into the Democratic 2006 election celebration. She makes it clear that Liberals are as unhappy with the Democratic Party as Conservatives are with the GOP. It seems to me that something important, maybe even historic is stirring in the political arena-stay tuned. -- Richard A. Viguerie

Laura Flanders is a star burst of optimism -- people need that -- and Blue Grit is the perfect vehicle for spreading her message. Politics can be fun again AND progressive goals can succeed. There is a new crowd moving in on tired old politicians and they are stirring up a hopeful new politics. -- William Greider

Laura Flanders' Blue Grit gives hope even to those of us who don't ordinarily go in for that sort of thing. -- Fran Lebowitz

With her usual daring, flair and down home investigative style, Laura Flanders travels America and finds the progressive grassroots movement alive and kicking. Her book, Blue Grit, asks who owns the Democratic Party, "the people in the suites or the people in the streets." It is a crucial question, and this book is crucial reading." -- Eve Ensler

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The; First Edition edition (April 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594201137
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594201134
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,176,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Blue Grit is what the Democratic Party needs. It's a little bit like soul it's a lot like grits. Whether they get it or whether they will ever get it is another story.

The story that Laura Flanders tells in her prescient book is one that the fourth estate--fawning over Barack Obama's rout in Iowa--would have been well advised to read. They might have learned a thing or two: That progressive movements are not built over night and that they are not built on the backs of candidates, no matter how inspiring they are. Flanders is not a conventional campaign correspondent--conventional campaign correspondents don't actually cover campaigns; they cover candidates--and that is why Blue Grit, which chronicles progressive change in unlikely places, is much more valuable than the daily dose (often mind numbing) of political reportage. For a good example, see Flanders' recent stories in the Nation magazine on why the current campaign is not about Obama and why the real battle is not between Obama and Clinton but between the suites (the penthouse party) and the streets.

Flanders is more attuned to the people who make political change, often against great odds, than anyone else writing today. Thus her book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the current moment, a field guide to a more promising political future.

What is happening and what will happen in '08? As Flanders points out, the Democratic gains in '06 "didn't usher in new power for a new agenda." But the political shift is taking place at a different level. "The top of the ticket is not where the action is. Political change, as opposed to personnel change, works from the bottom up..." Will we see political change in the next election or just another changing of the guards?
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Format: Hardcover
In this riveting new book, Laura Flanders defies the category of Non-Fiction. With the unflinching stories delivered from the mouths of this new 'purple' movement, and heard through the gorgeous prose style and poetic verse rendered on these pages, we feel real blue grit and new hope for social change in the United States. This book will upend the inaccurate perception that real bravery has abandoned the democrats. These new

heroes are here, in the pages of this book, making critical alterations in the political and social landscape of the ongoing experiment that is still America. Laura Flanders delivers these voices to us at a perfect moment.

It is moving, shocking, upsetting and inspiring, and will pave the way to a brand new way to make our social dreams come true. I'm standing in line for her next book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Laura has made a career of spotlighting and supporting the people. She not only reminds her readers (and listeners) the power lies with us, but more importantly, politics is not just for the politicians. Blue Grit is a guidebook for anyone wanting to get involved in changing the Democratic party from a beltway Republican-Light party into one where the power flows from the bottom up and the party leaders recognize it. The stakes have never been higher, thanfully Laura is here to help show the way.
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Format: Hardcover
I loved this book, I simply didn't want it to end. Another volume maybe, Laura?

Flanders is a top-notch storyteller, social observer and enthusiastic cheerleader for progressive social change. Her style is refreshing and human; she's tough on all the right assholes, gentle with the good guys and emphatic as she bursts many a bubble of disinformation, misinformation and outright deception. But more than anything, her stories of the courage and committment of small "d" democratic activists across the country make you want to jump into the fray and make a difference in the ways her heroes did.

It's easy living in a progressive city (Flanders reminds us that every metropolis with a population above 500k went for Kerry--take note DNC) to feel defeated by the inability to make real change that matters. For a year following the disastrous 2004 election, Flanders crossed the country, from New Orleans to Utah, from Montana to the Vegas Strip. And while the post-election pundits chastised the Democrats for not being mainstream and centrist enough, Flanders tells us the real decisive victories happened on the progressive left. In union halls. On Indian reservations. With young people. All of whom pounded the pavement to wrack up historic numbers in terms of voter registration and Democratic votes. And yet the Democratic Party infrastructure, ever the gang that couldn't shoot straight, under-appreciated, misunderstood and outright negated these victories time and time again. Flanders talks about the union rep who remarked that "Republicans reward their friends, Democrats reward their enemies."

Flanders' frontline reportage is biting and witty, acerbic and generous.
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Format: Hardcover
I read a lot of political books and this one is fresh and special. In a media world where the big guys dominate (and usually get all the credit) Flanders puts her focus on the grassroots groups and ground-level activists whom she believes really do the work that changes this country. It couldn't be better timed, given the ground-up revolt that was the 2006 election and it's a lovely read. I read it in one shot, sad when it ended.

As a not-very active Democratic voter who sometimes gets discouraged, it was helpful to be reminded that this isn't a blue vs. red country -- there are "blue grit" types everywhere. The book also reminded me that people really do have power if only we use it. The question is, will Democratic leaders listen? I'm going to be giving this book out at my church. A breath of fresh air, albeit pretty tough on party leaders.
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