- Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (June 1, 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0671867407
- ISBN-13: 978-0671867409
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 25 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,071,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Who Will Tell The People? : The Betrayal Of American Democracy Paperback – June 1, 1993
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From Publishers Weekly
This provocative manifesto, an eight-week PW bestseller in cloth, charges that America's political parties, unions and media organizations have abandoned the citizenry, leaving powerful moneyed elites in control of politics and government.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Christian Science Monitor Raises questions that every American who retains a faith in the self-correcting capacities of democracy ought to confront. Greider's assessment is a compelling one.
New York Daily News One of those rare, essential books that should be not merely read but memorized.
Time Who Will Tell the People sets out to explain precisely how and why American democracy has washed up on the shoals of cynicism. The complaint may sound familiar, but such a brief précis does not do justice to either the freshness of Greider's argument or the ambition of his approach.
The Nation William Greider has given us the most subtle interpretation of contemporary American political culture yet to appear in print.
Houston Chronicle The real question for Greider and for us is what we can do to reclaim democracy, to take it back from the wealthy special-interest groups that control the national agenda....Who Will Tell the People is a call to action. He makes a good argument that we'd better get busy if we are to make government work for us.
The Washington Monthly Valuable...Inspiring...[Greider's] criticism is not only broad but deep.
Playboy [An] eye-opening expose of how government has become a game for lobbyists, lawyers and influence brokers....Stirring.
New York Newsday Greider knows Washington exceptionally well and is a fine guide to the pork-barreling and back-scratching that glue together the private welfare state.
San Francisco Chronicle Impassioned account of what has gone wrong with our democracy...[Greider] brings to his examination of the American political system an outsider's outrage and an insider's knowledge.
The Washington Post Greider has mastered the knack of being sweeping and meticulous at the same time....Greider makes it clear that the citizens' corrosive suspicions about their institutions, their parties and their government are well founded.
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I have finished my third book by William Greider this morning, "Who Will Tell the People." I thought that to be a wonderful title for a book. I have been asking myself that same questions on many different subjects for many years. If you have also been wondering "Who Will Tell the People", I think I can tell you quite sincerely that one of the people who will tell the people is certainly William Greider.
This book is about Washington, "K" street and the money, games and influence. I thought that I knew about all that stuff but unfortunately I didn't know the half of it.
Richard Edward Noble - The Hobo Philosopher - Author of:
America On Strike - A survey of Labor strikes in America.
This is not to say there is nothing of value in the book. Greider does talk eloquently of the corruption of the political process by big money. I think the best part of the book is "Rancid Populism," a chapter on the Republicans' constant betrayal of the middle class and poor at the hands of the wealthy.
Perhaps this book needed an updated edition for the 21st century. Much of it seemed irrelevant today. Who cares whether Henry Gonzales (former Congressman) does on his Saturday nights?
To what extent did he reach that goal? In the context of exposing the influence of corporate selfishness and various other special interest groups, he succeeds on more than one level. He covers the trends, and gives specific and well documented examples as well. His footnotes and index are extensive, and his insightful writing style is precise and readable. I read the early 1992 edition, but was not left with the impression that too much of the content was out-dated. Indeed, from the perspective of principle, it rings as true today as the day it was written. And many events which unfolded after he published illustrated the very issues he was exposing.
Missing from this book, however, is any mention of the deeper problem of hidden scoundrels whose influence is also profound. For such omissions, one star is deducted. Perhaps the closest he gets to mentioning this facet of the reality appears on page 408 where he wrote: "...America has its full quota of fools and scoundrels." The omissions are, for some of us, glaring due to its relevance to the topic. There is no mention of Bilderberg or any of the other secretive groups and spurious mechanisms employed by the worst power mongers. The best analogy I can apply is that this book could be compared to a sermon series that thoroughly exposed sin-nature in men, but never mentioned the devil. As if no spirit realm even existed. Greider also never clarifies that the USA is a republic. Recite the Pledge of Allegiance to yourself, and notice that the word democracy is not included. It may be considered a technicality by some, but I believe it really could have been addressed in a book of this nature.
Since Who Will Tell The People omits the more conspiratorial power brokers, it is the perfect book to recommend to people who dismiss the idea of conspiracies by default, and are still trapped in the thinking that American government always does whatever it does for the benefit of the populace. Greider's book will leave such folks comfortable with no challenge to the former, but will firmly shake them loose from the latter.
The most admirable aspect of Who Will Tell The People, in my estimation, is Greider's relentless optimism. Some of us understand that government will never fully get it right until the King reigns in the coming age. But that does not mean that we should throw up our hands in disgust and withdraw from political concerns of any kind. Greider reveals, in detail, many of the problems we face, but also insists that solutions that have the potential to correct a dark trajectory exist and that they can and should be utilized. He also explains and documents by historical examples that we citizens hold more power in our hands than we have often been led to believe.
Both the hidden cabal and the unhidden special interest groups routinely pound the propaganda drums of the liberal / conservative divide specifically to undermine the type of mutual respect that would allow citizens to unite against concealed treachery. Keep the people fighting among themselves, they plot, and they'll never think to oppose us. Greider missed part of this. He saw the problems of disunity, lack of insight, and lack of respect, but did not fully see enough of the power manipulations hidden in the undercurrents. But, he was aware that real change does not come from the top. Real change in politics is the result of an upsurge from organized and informed citizens acting in concert despite their differences. This is the force that engenders justice and can be corrective of corruption. We should never expect good changes from the positions of authority which are most vulnerable to corruption. It's simply far too rare.
Anger about the persistent and obstinate dissonance between the idea of America and the reality of America is only beneficial if it prompts citizens to understand that we all possess the right to help define the destiny of our nation. Anger that merely confirms the disconnect between leadership and the governed leads to cynicism that atrophies the power of citizenry. Greider implores us all to educate ourselves and make the best choices going forward.
Or, we could just play video games (and more) to keep our individual entertainment enthroned. It's our choice.