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Publisher's Summary

A passionate manifesto that exposes hypocrisy on both sides of the political divide and points a way out of the tribalism that is tearing America apart - by the CNN political contributor and host hailed as "a star of the 2016 campaign" (New York Times) who tries to "fight the right way" (New Yorker). 

Van Jones burst into the American consciousness during the 2016 presidential campaign with an unscripted, truth-telling style and an already established history of bridge-building across party lines. His election night commentary became a viral sensation. A longtime progressive activist with deep roots in the conservative South, Jones has made it his mission to challenge voters and viewers to stand in one another's shoes and disagree constructively. 

Now, in Beyond the Messy Truth, Jones offers a blueprint for transforming our collective anxiety into meaningful change. Tough on Donald Trump but showing respect and empathy for his supporters, Jones takes aim at the failures of both parties before and after Trump's victory. He urges both sides to abandon the politics of accusation and focus on real solutions. Calling us to a deeper patriotism, he shows us how to get down to the vital business of solving, together, some of our toughest problems. 

"The entire national conversation today can be reduced to a simple statement - 'I'm right, and you're wrong,'" Jones has said. But the truth is messier; both sides have flaws. Both parties have strayed from their highest principles and let down their core constituencies. Rejecting today's political tribalism, Jones issues a stirring call for a new "bipartisanship from below". Recognizing that tough challenges require the best wisdom from both liberals and conservatives, he points us toward practical answers to problems that affect us all regardless of region or ideology: rural and inner-city poverty, unemployment, addiction, unfair incarceration, and the devastating effects of the pollution-based economy on both coal country and our urban centers. 

In explaining how he arrived at his views, Jones shares behind-the-scenes memories from his decades spent marching and protesting on behalf of working people, inspiring stories of ordinary citizens who became champions of their communities, and little-known examples of cooperation that have risen from the fog of partisan conflict. In his quest for positive solutions, Van Jones encourages us to set fire to our old ways of thinking about politics and come together where the pain is greatest. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2017 Van Jones (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Van Jones is a light in the darkness when we need it most. Beyond the Messy Truth breaks with the tribalism of today's politics and offers us a way forward. In the tradition of the great bridge builders of our past, Van's love for this country and all its people shines through." (Cory Booker, US senator, New Jersey)

"Speaking with heartfelt conviction and clarity of purpose, [Van] Jones proffers an achievable pathway to harmony for ideologues of both conservative and liberal persuasions." (Booklist)

"Part manifesto, part manual for activism, [Beyond the Messy Truth] is enlivened by case histories and personal anecdotes that serve as support for the author's assertions.... The author proposes common projects that may bring opposing sides together...[and] offers concrete suggestions to revive democracy, heal culture wars, and prevent a Trump victory in 2020." (Kirkus Reviews)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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I never hated anyone before

If months after 2016 Elections you found yourself checking your phone compulsively to read the latest news, to make see if the world is about to end (metaphorically... with North Korea possibly literally) because of Trump and to see what happened since you last checked that will make you question sanity, his, yours and the people who support him. After a while with the constant lies which send me into a tail spin of fact checking, seeing that these people either don't realize or choose not see or choose to ignore LIES - the constant lies, hypocrisy on steroids, "alternative facts" and anti-intellectualism - that I have started I have felt real animosity and the what I can only describe as hate towards those enabling what I consider warping of reality. This book is a good compress for the negative emotions I hold for all those who support Trump. While at least two of six or so groups that elected Trump like white supremacists and Evangelicals even after this book I still see as evil, I appreciated Van Jones putting a human face on the other groups and try to honestly SPEAK TRUTH TO THE PEOPLE.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Written from the heart

I have always been a fan of Van Jones, whenever I see him talking on CNN I see how he throws all of his emotions in to his words, and it made a lot of sense to me. however, I've always said to my self maybe because I lean more to the liberal side.
Listening/Reading this book made me see the true America in his words. laying down his life timeline through his struggles, experiences, mistakes that lead to his marvelous conclusion and solution to the biggest threat to this country which is hate.
the part of Prince story, really moved. Newt Gingrich I never thought of looking at his great accomplishments.
just read and you will become a different better human.
read it and you love this country more, Red or Blue this book will touch your heart and shake your mind.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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great stuff

the narrow was clear. it let me understand how we got to this point with the man in white house. How he got there and that Obama wasn't as clean as I thought.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Thank you Van Jones

Everything in this book makes sense. I loved all of the stories. I loved hearing about things that leaders like Prince do for Our country. This book Help me look at our political spectrum more objectively.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Entertaining--how we can improve U.S. politics

Van Jones made a video that went viral before the Trump win which warned that Trump had a good chance of being elected. His ability to see what many liberals didn't was the reason I wanted to listen to this book. He wrote a wonderful book, full of great heart, wisdom, and entertaining stories.

Jones understands the emotional state and views of both liberals and conservatives in America today. He has worked in the Obama White House and partnered with Prince in his philanthropic efforts. Jones improves our world with his effective non-profit work. He's a man with a lot of intellect, courage, and a big heart. He turns these on the dysfunction of American politics and guides the listener to see what he sees.

Jones doesn't look at the economic realities of inequality that underlie the present dysfunction; rather he focuses on how emotions and attitudes are preventing conservatives and liberals from working together to solve problems. He points the way to how we CAN work together. This is a valuable book, and I hope that many people listen to it.

I didn't enjoy the narration; it was overdramatized. But this is a minor issue. The book moves fast, is easy-listening, and entertaining.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Insightful outlook for change...

This book presented itself to be an insightful outlook on how to invoke change. Vans approach is insightful and intriguing while presenting the harsh realities of the current climate in this country. I found the book to be amazing, informative, trailblazing and motivational.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A fair, balanced view on the issues that affect us

Well worth the read. Van Jones offers his personal view on the issues that affect us today and attempts to give a moral view rather than a political view for the solutions and a way out of this madness!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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This book opened my eyes.

My eyes were opened to several ways to make out country better. Ideas which include all Americans are the ideas that have a chance of working.Thank you for telling your story to me a liberal who needed fresh prospective.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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the messy truth is refreshing

This is a well written book, which I was able to read all the way through. I enjoyed how he showed the different perspectives in today's volatile political climate, and how they developed. it takes aim at both parties, without being condescending and offers thoughtful solutions. There were a few surprises, like his friendship with Prince. a great read for those frustrated with the bickering!

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As a hard core constitutional conservative I enjoyed this book

Van Jones seems to be one of the very few liberals who actually understands and (on some level) appreciates conservatives and our values. Don’t get me wrong, he didn’t sway me at all on my core conservative values & I don’t think that was his intent.
It just makes sense that if we’re going to put the country back together we need to start with the vast number of things we agree on. Not the few things that separate us. That I believe is the point of this book.