Hailed as an honest, candid political memoir in a genre more often characterized by slick, self-serving campaign biographies, this book captures Barbara Lee's extraordinary life and political career from her early upbringing in El Paso, Texas, through her years in Oakland, California, with the Black Panther Party, to her service in the U.S. Congress. In a new Afterword to the paper edition, Lee pays tribute to the Congressional Black Caucus, for which she serves as chair during the 111th Congress, and reflects on the challenges that continue to face our nation at home and abroad.
My favorite brave American, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, has again done a courageous thing: she has written a personal and powerful story about her life, from her childhood in El Paso, Texas to her extraordinary present day position as U.S. Congresswoman from the 9th district of Northern California. Renegade For Peace and Justice demonstrates how her faith in her God, her values, and her common sense caused her to say no to the Bush Administration's demand, following the attacks of 9/11, that Congress turn over its constitutional powers to declare war to the President, George W. Bush; giving him a blank check to fund endless aggression against a country that was not responsible for the attacks. Hers was the only dissenting vote. For the layperson this book is a wonderful way to begin to understand how our political system works, or of late, doesn't work, because of Lee's ability to explain, in practical terms, her own positions and those of other members of Congress. Lee is not only a hero and a champion of the marginalized and under-represented, she is also a marvelous teacher.
Barbara Lee's honest, personal, and very American story will inspire every reader plus generations of young leaders. Yes, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and others have led us by their public examples; but in showing us the links between public and private life, Barbara Lee ushers us into a new era that allows leaders to be whole people.
Dr. J. Alfred Smith Sr.
Barbara Lee, a renegade for justice, fearless but compassionate, sensitive but smart, expresses in this illustrious book, the courage of Esther, the militancy of Deborah, and the faith of Mary. Her undying commitment to her African motherland and to marginalized people everywhere reminds us of her kinship with both Mother Teresa and her role model, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm. Readers of this book will want to join Congresswoman Lee as renegades for the cause of justice anywhere and everywhere.
lead singer of U2 and co-founder of the anti-pover Bono
Some of the poorest people in the world will never know the name Barbara Lee, yet owe their lives to her determination in the fight against AIDS. Her sense of justice—and injustice—runs about as deep as it's possible to go.
Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA)
When our government shifts from the course charted by our constitution, we can always count on Rep. Barbara Lee to sound the warning bell. Barbara is intimately guided by her sense of direction; when the tide of public opinion runs in the opposite way, Barbara's internal compass guides her through fog that can cloud the sharpest minds.
Barbara Lee's exciting autobiography gives us hints why she is such an extraordinary, unique leader. She has lived "Yes. We Can! Si Se Puede!" We can all learn and be grateful for Barbara Lee's life.
July 2008 Roll Call
Most memoirs by Members of Congress are safe, tepid retellings of hardscrabble upbringings or glossing-over of troubled pasts. Not so in the candid new book by Rep. Barbara Lee, which delves into raw emotional territory from the California Democrat's past, including a secret marriage, a clandestine abortion, an abusive marriage and even an LSD trip forced upon her by her violent ex-husband....Still, the story ends in triumph, and Lee remembers her career in the House and the support, both public and private, that she's gotten for her controversial stance as the sole Member of Congress who voted against the use of force after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. We do love a happy ending.
- September 2008
Her passion for public service brought her into the orbit of the Black Panther Party and later more mainstream politics as she developed her iconoclastic views on how to serve. She details the challenges of getting ahead in politics, relying on a strong faith, and maintaining the courage to stand up for what she thinks is right.
Contra Costa Times, "Public Lawmaker Shows her Private Side" from November 12, 2008
- Tammerlin Drummond
A refreshingly frank self-examination by a public figure.
November 2008 Shelf Awareness
It's striking to read....Lee's story, told in an earnest, almost reticent way, is startling: who would have thought that this person who has at times been vilified as a left-wing radical is trying to live what she was taught by nuns and in her Methodist Sunday school?
December 2008 The Charlotte Post
If you enjoy a good biography or if you're a political junkie, you'll love this book. Renegade for Peace & Justice is a book to pay attention to.
January 2009 The Birmingham Times
Renegade For Peace And Justice: Congresswoman Barbara Lee Speaks For Me is the title of the most profound autobiography there is. Congresswoman Lee's life is an example to all—you can accomplish, you can stand. It is wonderful.