Political Awakenings: Conversations with History

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Overview

As a kid, Noam Chomsky handed out the Daily-Mirror at his uncle's newsstand on 72nd Street, finding himself in a buzzing intellectual and political hub for European immigrants in New York-an experience that would shape his lifelong interest in radical politics.

In a moment that clarified for her the importance of the law in protecting vulnerable groups, Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi and her husband signed their own legal contract, attempting to restore equality to their marriage after the Iranian Revolution effectively erased the legal rights of women.

A Harvard professor and the chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel created to oversee the U.S. banking bailout, Elizabeth Warren once set out to expose those fraudulent Americans who were declaring bankruptcy and taking advantage of the system-only to discover, in her research, a very different story of hard-working middle-class families facing economic collapse in the absence of a social safety net.

In this rousing, thoughtful, often funny, and always inspiring volume, a diverse and impressive group of thinkers reflect on those formative experiences that shaped their own political commitments. A fascinating new window into the profound connections between the personal and the political, Political Awakenings will engage readers across generations.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Library Journal
Starred Review.

For more than 25 years, the University of California's Kreisler has been conducting hour-long interviews with "the distinguished men and women who pass through Berkeley on a daily basis" for a series he calls "Conversations with History." In this remarkable collection, Kreisler selects 20 converations, spotlighting some of the most important activists, academics, and journalists of our generation, including Elizabeth Warren, Michael Pollan, Tariq Ali, Howard Zinn, and Oliver Stone. Having honed his craft over decades, Kreisler poses provocative, open-ended questions leagues deeper than typical sound bite-centered journalism. While discussion ranges from apartheid with Justice Albie Sachs to the Iranian revolution with Nobel Peace Prize-winning lawyer Shirin Ebadi, Kreisler also investigates the formative experiences of each subject. Offering insight into world events, as well as the life and career paths of those who work for change, this study in the art of thoughtful dissent should fascinate anyone interested in activism and world events, especially new and soon-to-be graduates.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Library Journal
Between 1982 and 2009, Kaiser (executive director, Inst. of International Studies, Univ. of California, Berkeley) conducted almost 500 interviews with authors, diplomats, activists, historians, political scientists, journalists, soldiers, and economists from around the world. His book contains 20 of these interviews, transcribed for the first time, with individuals such as Daniel Ellsberg, Michael Pollan, Jane Mayer, Tariq Ali, Oliver Stone, and Howard Zinn. The particular focus of these interviews is the lives and works of people who, with vision, passion, and intelligence, can imagine a better world. Captivatingly, the collection celebrates the life of the mind and the heart and persuasively illustrates the crucial bridge between thought and action, between private life and social action. What is especially impressive about the individuals interviewed is their diversity: they hail from different countries, religions, experiences, and occupations. Each has his or her own story to tell, yet they all demonstrate the necessity of enlightened engagement with contemporary issues, such as terrorism, cultural conflict and understanding, and historical consciousness. VERDICT Highly recommended for all libraries and all readers.—Stephen K. Shaw, Northwest Nazarene Univ., Nampa, ID
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595583406
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 3/16/2010
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,019,909
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xiii

Protest and Change 1

Noam Chomsky 3

Daniel Ellsberg 14

Listening to the People 29

Elizabeth Warren 31

Ron Dellums 42

Science, Food, and the Environment: Movements for Justice 59

Michael Pollan 61

Eva Harris 77

Oronto Douglas 88

Seeking Truth 99

Amira Hass 101

Jane Mayer 120

Empire and Hegemony 135

Ahmed Rashid 137

Chalmers Johnson 154

Tariq Ali 178

Resistance Through Art 189

Roya Hakakian 191

Oliver Stone 201

Kenzaburo Oe 214

Human Rights and the Law 227

Albie Sachs 229

Shirin Ebadi 244

Philippe Sands 250

Radical Insights Through History 259

Joan Wallach Scott 261

Howard Zinn 274

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