Wrestling with the Angel of Democracy: On Being an American Citizen

Overview

In this provocative work, Susan Griffin charts the rise and fall of our society's highest values-equality, truth, and freedom-from the Declaration of Independence to the Iraq War. Combining contemplative memoir with social and political history, she explores both the inward and outward dimensions of our democracy. She argues compellingly that the dawning of American democracy represented nothing less than a revolution of consciousness, one that is still unfolding today.

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Overview

In this provocative work, Susan Griffin charts the rise and fall of our society's highest values-equality, truth, and freedom-from the Declaration of Independence to the Iraq War. Combining contemplative memoir with social and political history, she explores both the inward and outward dimensions of our democracy. She argues compellingly that the dawning of American democracy represented nothing less than a revolution of consciousness, one that is still unfolding today.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Griffin began her "social autobiography" with A Chorus of Stones: The Private Life of War(1992), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and continued with What Her Body Thought. She now delivers a third volume, in which autobiographical fragments blend with reflections on the lives of Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Muir, Jelly Roll Morton, and other Americans and with diary entries recording Griffin's thoughts on current events such as Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq War. She aims to trace intersections between the growth of a sense of freedom in individuals and the evolution of democratic consciousness in the nation. "It is the inner states that generate and are generated by democracy that interest me," she writes. Griffin, also a poet and playwright, has written many books, and no doubt her latest will find its readers. Yet those who have not encountered Griffin may consider many passages, such as "I was more in touch with myself than ever before," self-absorbed and trite. Optional for public and academic libraries.
—Bob Nardini Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

From the Publisher
“With a light, yet devastating touch, Griffin charts our continued ‘wrestling’ with democratic ideals—her incisive search for the soul of democracy stirs up pride, despair, and hope.”—Booklist, starred review 

“Charming and even lyrical.”—Baltimore Sun

“An intellectually satisfying account that shows through the stories of selected historical personalities and her own life that democracy is, and always will be, a work in progress.”—Foreword Magazine

“Susan Griffin’s superb prose reveals democracy not as a distant abstraction but as a live, inspiring, and difficult presence shaping us every day, an angel all Americans wrestle with.”—George Lakoff, author of Whose Freedom? The Battle Over America’s Most Important Idea

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781615608522
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/8/2008
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Griffin has won dozens of awards for her work as a feminist writer, poet, essayist, playwright, and filmmaker. She is the author of more than twenty books including A Chorus of Stones, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is the recipient of an Emmy, a MacArthur grant, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is a frequent contributor to Ms. magazine, the New York Times Book Review, and numerous other publications. She lectures widely and is a frequent guest on national and local radio programs. She lives in Berkeley, California.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

1 Liberty 1

2 Yosemite 53

3 Blue Jeans 140

4 Jazz 195

5 Song of Myself 229

6 Round 277

Bibliography 286

About the Author 293

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