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You Have the Power: How to Take Back Our Country and Restore Democracy in America Hardcover – September 21, 2004

4.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Months after his fall from Democratic primary front-runner to also-ran, the former governor of Vermont remains an inspiring figure for the voters and activists (many of them new to politics) who joined his confident, Internet-savvy campaign. Dr. Dean spent the summer encouraging fans to unite behind Kerry while building his own group, Democracy for America, to assist "fiscally responsible, socially progressive candidates." Clear, forceful and brief, Dean’s book explains his new goals. The governor integrates snippets of his own life (from his Park Avenue boyhood to the Iowa caucus) with familiar positions from his campaign (Bush’s tax cuts were reckless; America must not "inspire... hatred and fear"). While he has little to say about the advisers (Joe Trippi, Kate O’Connor) whose differences got in his way, the doctor does offer a diagnosis for his "scream" speech, calling it a mistake, but blaming its outsized impact on big media gone wild. Dean also praises Vermont’s cooperative traditions, lauds Kerry, rips into Ralph Nader and compliments Bill Clinton, who "won not by moving to the middle but by giving people hope." Though it is unmistakably a campaign book, Dean’s volume has long-term goals too, encouraging readers not only to vote but to get involved by "building a community, locally and nationally."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Dean's passionate, infectious personality is apparent in this short critique of modern American politics and his own failed campaign to win the Democratic presidential candidacy. Dean, a physician and former governor of Vermont, brings his fascinating experiences to an analysis of his own campaign and an overview of the faltering political process. The behind-the-scenes look includes recollection of the impassioned holler--totally misrepresented, says Dean--that raised so many eyebrows, the avid grassroots movement he built, his contentious relationship with the press, and a heartfelt talk with Al Gore on the eve of deciding whether to stay in the race. He criticizes the powerful for not "getting it," for failing to understand the disillusionment of average Americans with major institutions, from the government to corporations to the Catholic Church. Rejecting what he calls a strategy of becoming "Republican lite," Dean urges Democrats to be faithful to their mission and provide the moral leadership he sees lacking in modern politics. Dean also urges voters to hold politicians accountable and to get involved in government and politics and reflects on the historical cycles that have seen the interests of the wealthy and powerful supersede those of ordinary Americans. Despite the partisanship, this is a passionate appeal for political involvement by a man who has had undeniable influence on presidential campaigning. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (September 21, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743270134
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743270137
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,251,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. Wetmore on September 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Written by the Gov. Howard Dean, MD who surgically implanted a new spine into the Democratic Party this book lays out what has gone wrong with our party (and our country) and plots a course for the future. For those who didn't pay attention to the Democratic primary race - who may only know Howard Dean as that `scream guy' - read this book. There are at least 700,000 people out there who are better citizens, better Americans because of this man. All Democrats, Liberals, Progressives should read this book. Republicans who think all Democrats are wild-eyed America-hating socialists may learn a thing or to also. I purchased my signed copy at a Dean speech in Ohio.
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Format: Hardcover
Howard Dean really speaks his mind in this book. Despite the media's portrayal of him as a red-faced, raving, leftist fanatic, he is actually quite a moderate Democrat. This book is a how-to guide to succeed in the political world, and is a wake-up call for both sides on what they should be doing to bring our country back together again. Also, unlike Bill Clinton's My Life, the book is small enough that you can read it on a long airline flight. I urge everyone, Democrat or Republican, to at least give this book a try.
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Format: Hardcover
Inevitably a book like this has two interwoven parts - a memoir and a litany of "we musts and we needs." As is often the case, the memoir of this rather unfortunately named book (sounds like a self help manual) is the far more interesting part. Dean is at his most interesting when discussing his take on his own campaign and various political figures. The famous scream? Dean makes a compelling case that it never happened (really!) Bill Clinton? A uniquely skilled politician who tried to undermine Dean and left many would-be successors with the wrong impression that he won because he was centrist. George Bush? The worst president since Harding (and even more dangerous). In acknowledging that his operation was not prepared to win a front-runners campaign, Dean sort of explains why he, as one of the guys who lost, should be writing about what Democrats need to do to win. I would have liked more analysis of what went wrong, and what went right. On the whole, though this slim volume is worthwhile and engaging enough to read in one or two sittings.
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Format: Hardcover
Come on Dean! I ordered this book from amazon.com and when it came in the mail and I opened the box, my first thought was "where's the beef?" I was shocked by how small and thin this book is, considering the price. I'm not sure why it was published in hardback, since his previous one was paperback only. As much as I love Dean and wish that he was the Democratic nominee instead of Kerry, this book is still a widget that only hardcore Dean supporters like myself would buy. Its a breeze to read in a day or two, covering much of what I've heard in several speeches and read in his previous book. I agree with all points he makes (because I'm a Deanocrat), but I still don't understand why he bothered with this book. I was hoping for a narrative about his experiences on the campaign trail. I suspect he was in a rush to get this book out before the election in hopes of his supporters buying it, reading it, and holding their noses when they vote for Kerry in November. That's still no reason to con me out of $20 on a widget! I would have happily waited for a more in depth book, with more substance, and regular sized, if it took a year or two for him to write one worth reading. That's why I have to give him three stars. Its not as good as his first campaign literature ("Winning Back America"), and I eagerly bought it sight unseen (had I seen it in a bookstore, I probably would've passed on buying it until the paperback version) just because I'm such a loyal Deanocrat who's hoping that Dean will run again in 2008 or 2012. Because I still like Dean and believe in his message, I wouldn't ask for my money back...just a promise from him not to pass another widget on his supporters. Wait for substance before you write another book, and call me if you want help writing one. I'd love to help out on that project!
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Format: Hardcover
Howard Dean is proving himself to be one of the Democratic Party's more enduring leaders. Not yet 60, he has already served as Governor of Vermont, head of the Democratic Governors Association, a Democratic candidate for the party's 2004 presidential nomination, head of the political action committee Democracy for America, and since, February, 2005, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. With the Democrats poised to make big gains in 2006, Dean's future relevance is likely to continue for some time.

I am not a neutral observer. I was a Dean delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2004--his only delegate from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or the Mid-Atlantic states. And I have actively participated in Democracy for America and urged Pennsylvania's members of the Democratic National Committee to support his candidacy for this position.

Dean's ascension to the Chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee from the ranks of unsuccessful Presidential candidates is unprecedented. Most Democratic National Committee chairs have been fundraisers and/or political technicians. Dean is the rare Democratic National Committee with a visible policy platform and a coherent set of ideas.

This book is a summary and integration of Dean's views in a variety of areas: public policy platform; critiques of the Democratic Party (including Bill Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council), the Republican Party (including George Bush, Newt Gingrich and the radical right), the media (including coverage of him and coverage of President Bush), a mix of moral exhortations to get actively involved in the political process, and pragmatic suggestions on how to strengthen the Democratic Party and why doing so is absolutely necessary.
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