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Publisher's Summary

Democracy Matters is Cornel West's bold and powerful critique of the troubling deterioration of democracy in America in this threatening post-9/11 age of terrorist rage and imperial overreach, and an inspiring call for a resurgence of the deep democratic tradition in our country, which has waged war on the forces of imperialist corruption throughout our history.

Praised by The New York Times for his "ferocious moral vision", West, in this vital sequel to his major best seller and contemporary classic Race Matters, returns to the analysis of what he calls the arrested development of democracy, both in America and in the Middle East, with a hard-hitting diagnosis. A callous free-market fundamentalism, an aggressive militarism, and an insidious authoritarianism are driving a bullying imperialism.

But there is a rich and empowering tradition in America to fervent commitment to the fight against imperialist corruptions, and West brings forth the trenchant voices of that great democratizing tradition, from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Toni Morrison, in a brilliant and deeply moving call for the revival of our better democratic.

This impassioned and empowering call for the revitalization of America's democracy, by one of America's most distinctive and compelling social critics, will reshape the raging national debate about America¿s role in today's troubled world.

©2004 Cornel West; (P)2004 Penguin Audio and Books on Tape, Inc.

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  • sarah
  • las vegas, nevada, Vereinigte Staaten
  • 03-05-12

one of the best books...

What made the experience of listening to Democracy Matters the most enjoyable?

I have about 700 audiobooks in my librairy this one of the books I enjoyed listening too 4 times so far...

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Gabriel
  • Washington, DC, USA
  • 07-06-05

Well written, a refreshing voice of inspiration

This book is a joy to read. The key to understanding it however is to learn to read it as more of a sermon on social issues than an intellectual lecture full of well-supported postulating. The reason for this is that he basically glides from point to point without pausing to indulge us in much "evidence." This sounds more dubious from an outsider's perspective than it actually is in fact. You have to maintain the understanding that we are in an age where statistics seem to rule all in the world of policy, specifically on the left. While the right has only just begun to dabble in research and statistics (what with the emergence of pseudo-scientific institutions such as the Family Research Council), the left has seemingly abandoned the trumpet-call of values based purely on a belief structure, for cold, hard, facts.

While I don't necessarily prefer one over the other, I learned to love West's evangelistic approach as one sorely missing from the Progressive side of debate in this country. We've stopped claiming that we should fight poverty simply because it's the right and just thing to do, and instead started quoting figures about how much crime it creates or how much of a city's worth it destroys. West prefers the former approach, and if you're looking for more inspiration in your struggles than perspiration, this is the perfect choice for today's world.

21 of 27 people found this review helpful

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A wake up call to the oppressed of the plutocrats.

West builds on the factors discussed in "Race Matters" to show how racial and xenophobic imperialistic influences have built a plutocratic government that threatens our democratic existence on a daily basis in this work. A very easy read to understand but an uncomfortable read at times as it shakes the reader to wake up and see what is going on around him.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Cornel West Passionately Speaks About Changes

Cornel West is at his best in describing the changes that he feels that America must undergo in order to deal with the class-ism, racism, poverty and social issues that continue to plague this great Nation.

West is one of the great voices in this country who isn't afraid to take on the Establishment and "tell it like it is".

In Democracy Matters, West talks about America's challenges that she has to face, especially post 9-11 and the social unrest that continues to be a part of the fabric of America. West doesn't hold much back in regards to his thoughts on the ugly history that has annihilated the Native Americans, enslaved African Americans and has an imperial nature to it's core.

West does offers suggestions and solutions in the book as to how to end poverty and help the "have nots" in this country. Of course, they're somewhat controversial, but hey... that's Dr. Cornel West for you!

I'm a student of history, so I can appreciate a lot of what Dr. West speak on. I highly recommend this book... especially in light of the fact the America is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr's March on Washington, as you'll see how Dr. West connects the dots and tries to get America to live up to it's promises.

Very good!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • Seattle, WA, United States
  • 10-03-09

Cornel West Brings It Home!

If you don't mind a lot of rambling and "big sophisticated words" that take a while to get to the point, then you'll enjoy listening to Dr. West and his views on the world.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Gregory
  • Naperville, IL, United States
  • 10-17-17

A dialectic on the State of the Union

Dr. Cornel attempts to break down the structure of democracy by point the finger back at the crack in the bell in Philadelphia as if it has stopped cracking. The culture of democracy doesn’t work as it should for everyone, especially the black and brown in this country.
All social movements begin with the notion to correct a weakness in this country.

He does a great job in explaining the use of music, in hip hop culture, as a poetic essay of how rappers explain the world thru their eyes using language and song to identify the “ills” of society.

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Inspiration in s time of need!!

It's almost as if C. West wrote this book for present day. The mix of fiery soul touching heart for people yet calm matured Socratic thinking was refreshing in a post Trump presidency where everything is the opposite of Socratic processing. 5STARS!!

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Outstanding!!

All I thought and more. West's writing is thought provoking and insightful. I decided to buy a physical copy after listening so I can truly breakdown and study his philosophical analysis.

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Powerful words spoken well

I love that Cornel West narrated his own book. This book seems even more important in 2017. I read "Race Matters" right when it came out, but because I hadn't been reading as many books for a while just completely missed this. He has so many powerful and important things to say that I would recommend this book to all.

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A rich consideration of American democracy

Both intellectually rich and accessible to a general audience--a rich consideration of the American democratic tradition from an African American perspective