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Outsider in the House Paperback – September 17, 1998

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Bernie Sanders of Vermont uses the story of his 1996 reelection campaign to paint the picture of what it's like to be the first Independent elected to the House of Representatives in 40 years and the only one ever elected to four consecutive terms. Outsider in the House provides a good look at such recent political skirmishes as the Gulf War, NAFTA, and health care reform. In his concluding chapter, Sanders puts forward explicit proposals for tackling such issues as bridging the gap between rich and poor (develop a truly progressive tax code, he says); campaign reform (establish automatic voter registration, end soft money, cap total election expenditures and provide free TV time for political ads); and balancing the budget (drastically cut defense and corporate welfare). --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

What's it like to be the odd-man out in Congress? Sanders, the first independent elected to the House in 40 years, sheds some light on running for and serving in the House. Mayor of Burlington, Vermont, from 1981 to 1989, Sanders won his first term in 1990, identifying himself as a progressive. Using his 1996 reelection campaign as the framework for the book, Sanders bounces around in time to present a very personal account of his political life. His thoughts on major political figures, such as Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, are often quite blunt, and at times he delivers some cheap shots at his Republican and Democratic colleagues. Sanders exposes the reader to his Socialist/Progressive positions on all kinds of issues, from bovine growth hormone to NAFTA. Sanders is a dedicated representative, but he should stick to writing legislation. Readers looking for a balanced treatment of Congressional politics might consult Ronald D. Elving's Conflict and Compromise (S. & S., 1995) and Steven Waldman's The Bill (LJ 2/1/95).?Thomas J. Baldino, Wilkes Univ., Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; New edition edition (September 17, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859841775
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859841778
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #545,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

This is a heads up to others who want to read this book. I contacted the publisher and asked them if they would consider re-issuing this book and I received a reply that they plan to republish it, along with new material added. It is due out this December. Be patient. Copies will soon be readily available at reasonable prices, with updated content. Kudos to Verso Books!
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The other reader reviews give a good idea of what's in this Terrific book, but require further comment. One reviewer says Bernie declares his socialist approach to politics but doesn't tell readers what socialism means. While it's true there's no 'one-liner' definition, the whole book lays out what it means to be a socialist & what socialists do & stand for, & even how they can (maybe) get elected in the USA! I've never read a more clearly presented, generously thoughtful book of ANY political persuasion that tells as much about what (truly) democratic politicians should be doing, how they can get elected & then stay in office to get it done, how to communicate with constituents & generally make a positive difference in their country. Anyone who wants to get elected & work for All the People can learn how--& where--to try from this 1 book.
Beyond that, I've never read another book that makes so clear what politics should be all about, or how to recognize what a true representative of a large group of people should be doing, as well as how to make it possible even in 'America'.
If you read only 1 book on politics in your lifetime, this is the one; read with an open but critical mind & it will uplift you.
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Bernie Sanders chronicles his 1996 re-election campaign and his views on various political issues.
What sets this book apart from other books in the category is that Sanders is an elected Independent and he's from the unique state of Vermont.

Bernie Sanders addresses a number of battles from the Gingrich era.

Some of the general issues he addresses are:
>"Payoffs for layoffs" for Lockheed-Martin.
> The fight over minimum wage legislation.
> The identity of a host of "wedge issues" exploited by Republicans.
> Why the poor not voting empowers Republicans.
> Why NAFTA "was a sellout to corporate America."
> How the debate over health care is about economics and class politics.

On page 189 Bernie Sanders explains being an Independent in Congress:
"I am an independent because neither of the two major parties represents the interest of the middle class and working people of this country."

This is a well-written book from a rare Independent Congressman.
Another angle that makes this book of interest is that Sanders is a self-admitted "democratic socialist" so that political viewpoint is detailed.
I recommend this book for anyone desiring to read about Progressive politics.
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