The Quickening of America
By Frances Moore Lappé & Paul Martin Du Bois
An invisible revolution is taking place in communities all across our country. The Quickening of America brings that revolution to light with the stories of everyday Americans tackling their toughest problems—in their communities, schools, workplaces, and lives. This deeply personal, inspiring, and interactive book is full of practical ideas on how to get involved in democracy. Going past the tired polemics of the past—left and right, liberal and conservative, rich and poor—this book shows us how to bring our country alive again.
Table of Contents
Make This Book Yours
PART ONE: Overcoming the Myths that Limit Us
1. A powerful New Concept for Effective Living
2. We Each Have a Public Life
3. Claiming Our Self-Interest (It’s Not Selfishness)
4. Discovering power (It’s Not a Dirty Word)
PART TWO: America Coming Alive: The Invisible Revolution
5. Our Jobs, Our Economy, and Our Lives
6. Making the Media Our Voice
7. From Client to Citizen
8. Governing “By the People”
9. Educating Real-World Problem Solvers
PART THREE: Living Democracy: The Practical Tools
10. Mastering the Arts of Democracy: One-on-One Skills
11. Mastering the Arts of Democracy: Group Skills
12. Embracing the Democratic Self
13. What, No Manifesto?
Resources for Building a Living Democracy
Poetic and passionate...A small number of people in every generation are forerunners, in thought, action, spirit, who swerve past the barriers of greed and power to hold a torch high for the rest of us. Lappé is one of those."
—Howard Zinn, Author, A People’s History of the United States
Democracy, Lappé and Du Bois argue, can solve real-life problems and ‘bring new meaning and effectiveness into our lives [if it] becomes not simply what we have, but what we do.’ In their accessible, emphatically interactive volume, they challenge debilitating myths about democracy, public life, self-interest, and power; describe experiments in practical democratic problem solving at work—in the media, in human services, in government, and in education; and discuss the one-on-one skills (active listening, creative conflict, mediation, and negotiation) and the skills for use in group settings (political imagination, public dialogue, public judgment, celebration and appreciation, evaluation and reflection, and mentoring) that are essential elements in building a ‘culture of democracy.’ In the face of widespread doubt and despair about the future, The Quickening of America offers the encouraging suggestion that, with little fanfare, “regular Americans are applying the lessons we all need to learn in order to create the lives we want . . . and a country that works."
—Mary Carroll, Booklist
I highly recommend Quickening as an extremely useful and practical guide. It reaffirms that personal and social change are intertwined; that each of us counts; that our lives do make a difference; and that, through involvement and by developing our skills, we can make an even greater difference."
—Reverend Jesse L. Jackson
President and Founder, National Rainbow Coalition
An antidote to cynicism ... an essential ‘how-to’ manual for anyone interested in translating values into positive results."
—Ben Cohen, Founder, Ben & Jerry’s
One of the few truly optimistic books about the state of the country today. The book is as much a storehouse of life-changing ideas that work as a you-take-charge manual on how to understand economics, power, teamwork, the media, corporate strategies and ‘living democracy.’ In their accessible, emphatically interactive volume, Lappé and Du Bois challenge debilitating myths about democracy, public life, self-interest, and power; discuss the one-on-one skills (active listening, creative conflict, mediation, and negotiation) and the skills for use in group settings (political imagination, public dialogue, public judgment, celebration and appreciation, evaluation and reflection, and mentoring) that are essential elements in building a ‘culture of democracy. TheQuickening of America is as urgent and important as any book published in years but, unlike many, it is also of real use to ordinary people."
—Jonathon Kozol, Author, Savage Inequalities
Fascinating stories and insights from Americans who are learning that democracy is about much more than what happens in Washington. Lappé and Du Bois reveal a new practice of democracy as citizen problem solving in our schools, communities, and workplaces. A powerful antidote to despair, hard hitting yet hopeful."
—Henry Cisneros, Secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development
In The Quickening of America I learned how to move with power, effectiveness, and good humor beyond self-imposed limits.... We regular people can and must make history."
—Randy Hayes, Director, Rainforest Action Network
After years of listening to regular women and men at the grassroots, the authors have distilled hundreds of inspiring success stories into a unique `how-to’ book, infusing the concepts of `democracy’, `power’, and `public life’ with vibrant new meaning and challenging us to profoundly rethink our lives."
—Fritjof Capra, Founder and President, The Elmwood Institute, and Author, The Tao of Physics
As an elected official who longs for more empowered citizens, I hope thousands of people will read this book, where they will discover again what hard work, but also what satisfying work, democracy can be."
—Daniel Kemmis, Mayor, City of Missoula, Montana
Lappé and Du Bois are chroniclers of change in the way we think about ourselves and the world in which we live.... [a] convincing and refreshing reaffirmation of the democratic process."
—Patrick J. Leahy, Senator, State of Vermont