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Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons, and the Racial Divide Hardcover – September 8, 2015
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“Provocative and well-argued.” (Kirkus)
“Illuminating and accessible. ... Reid pulls no punches... and presents a balanced view of [Obama] and his administration.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Fascinating. ... A Compelling examination of racial issues in national politics.” (Shelf Awareness)
“Every page... is alive with historical heft and context.” (South Florida Times)
“Joy-Ann Reid exposes race as the San Andreas Fault of American politics. She exposes the white-black friction that’s propelled so much of our country’s debate, from Lincoln-Douglas to Obama-Clinton. Reid’s candid and tough chronicle nails it.” (Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews)
“An instant classic of political journalism by one of the nation’s most gifted public intellectuals. Joy-Ann Reid offers a searing analysis of the Clintons and Obama in a brilliant work that is at once epic historical saga, gripping social thriller, astute frontline reportage, and edifying political tract.” (Michael Eric Dyson, author of the forthcoming The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America)
“A profoundly necessary text. ... Takes on the ambitious task of connecting the contemporary Democratic Party to fifty years of fascinating and fast-paced historical change. ... If you plan to vote in 2016, you need to read Fracture.” (Melissa Harris-Perry, Presidential Endowed Chair in Politics and International Affairs at Wake Forest University and MSNBC host)
“Joy Reid has written a book that we should all read. She lays out politics in a clear and concise fashion, and we can all learn from her honesty and conviction to get the politics of America right.” (Charles J. Ogletree Jr., Jesse Climenko Professor of Law and the Founder and Executive Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School)
“Reid brilliantly mines well-known post-civil rights movement political ‘moments’ to illuminate the slow-shifting and all-too-often slyly static role of race in shaping the political landscape. ... And in the telling, she suggests we may yet choose to heal our fractured country.” (Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund)
From the Back Cover
Barack Obama's speech on the Edmund Pettus Bridge to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery marches should have represented the culmination of Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream of racial unity. Yet, in Fracture, MSNBC national correspondent Joy-Ann Reid shows that, despite the progress we have made, we are still a nation divided—as seen recently in headline-making tragedies such as the killing of Trayvon Martin and the uprisings in Ferguson and Baltimore.
With President Obama's election, Americans expected an open dialogue about race but instead discovered the irony of an African American president who seemed hamstrung when addressing racial matters, leaving many of his supporters disillusioned and his political enemies sharpening their knives. To understand why that is so, Reid examines the complicated relationship between Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton, and how their varied approaches to the race issue parallel the challenges facing the Democratic party itself: the disparate parts of its base and the whirl of shifting allegiances among its power players—and how this shapes the party and its hopes of retaining the White House.
Fracture traces the party's makeup and character regarding race from the civil rights days to the Obama presidency. Filled with key political players such as Shirley Chisholm, Jesse Jackson, John Lewis, and Al Sharpton, it provides historical context while addressing questions arising as we head into the next national election: Will Hillary Clinton's campaign represent an embrace of Obama's legacy or a repudiation of it? How is Hillary Clinton's stand on race both similar to and different from Obama's, or from her husband's? How do minorities view Mrs. Clinton, and will they line up in huge numbers to support her—and what will happen if they don't?
Veteran reporter Joy-Ann Reid investigates these questions and more, offering breaking news, fresh insight, and experienced insider analysis, mixed with fascinating behind-the-scenes drama, to illuminate three of the most important figures in modern political history, and how race can affect the crucial 2016 election and the future of America itself.
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The difference is Joy shows you how the democrats arrived at a point that the election of a Black president was possible. She is succinct in her plain prose making this a really approachable and breezy read. She refrains from injecting her own opinion and writes from the perspective of the reporter that she is. The book offers a keen insight into the game of politics, how an ally can quickly turn into a foe if the wrong words are said, or the need to appeal to a certain constituency is necessary.
Joy Ann Reid makes quite a presentation in this book by delineating the need for not only shrewd advisors but courage, calculation and skill on the part of the political principals. Once you have read the book, you will possibly view politics in a different way, knowing full well that things are not always as they seem. There are some great moments in the book, most may be familiar as headlines, but her journalistic bona fides allows for more depth. An excellent production well worth the money.
Joy also elucidates how, after Clinton soundly defeated Robert Dole in 1996 for his second term, he was ‘buoyed by a growing economy and accelerating job growth’. Joy reports on, under Clinton’s watch: the expansion of federal housing and Head Start programs, earned income tax credits for the poor as well as tax credits for businesses to hire the underemployed; and 20% hike in minimum wage.
Joy sheds light on Rev Jesse Jackson’s and his successful grass root efforts to bring more African Americans to the polls that lead to the ‘revamping and changing the structure of the Democratic Party’. This ‘generation of newly minted African American voters’ nominated Bill Clinton into office and also ‘… allowed Obama small-state victories leading to his two wins’.
The book reveals interesting facts in reference to: Clinton’s tumultuous relationship with Rev. Jackson and Rev Sharpton; Kanye West Debacle (‘George B. don’t care about Black people’); Lani Guinier and former President Clinton’s relationship even before he threw her under the bus; Rev Al Sharpton and how he was not able to be bought off by the naysayers (such as Vernon Jordan) in the early days of candidate Obama; Hillary Clinton and her earnestness (in the early days) as well as switching from working for a Republican to a Democratic; and validation (in my mind) in reference to President Obama and his willingness to directly assist and advocate for every group but African Americans.
Again, the book presents perspective and insight on the politicians, pundits and talking heads that we listen to everyday.