We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
Give Us the Ballot Audiobook

Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America

Regular Price:$27.99
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

The adoption of the landmark Voting Rights Act in 1965 enfranchised millions of Americans and is widely regarded as the crowning achievement of the civil rights movement. Yet fifty years later, we are still fighting heated battles over race, representation, and political power - over the right to vote, the central pillar of our democracy.

A groundbreaking narrative history of voting rights since 1965, Give Us the Ballot tells the story of what happened after the act was passed. Through meticulous archival research, fresh interviews with the leading participants in the ongoing struggle, and incisive on-the-ground reporting, Ari Berman chronicles the transformative impact the act had on American democracy and investigates how the fight over the right to vote has continued in the decades since. From new strategies to keep minorities out of the voting booth to cynical efforts to limit political representation by gerrymandering electoral districts to the Supreme Court's recent stunning decision that declared a key part of the Voting Rights Act itself unconstitutional, Berman tells the dramatic story of the pitched contest over the very heart of our democracy. At this important historical moment, Give Us the Ballot brings new insight to one of the most vital political and civil rights issues of our time.

©2015 Ari Berman (P)2015 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Not just a compelling history, but a cry for help in the recurring struggle to gain what is supposed to be an inalienable right." (Kirkus, starred review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (181 )
5 star
 (131)
4 star
 (33)
3 star
 (11)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (4)
Overall
4.6 (170 )
5 star
 (128)
4 star
 (30)
3 star
 (7)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (3)
Story
4.5 (170 )
5 star
 (107)
4 star
 (48)
3 star
 (11)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Gillian Austin, TX, United States 10-25-16
    Gillian Austin, TX, United States 10-25-16 Member Since 2017

    SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6671
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    275
    275
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    599
    8
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "In-Depth Blow by Blow Account of the VRA"

    This is definitely a worthwhile listen that covers Enfranchisement to Disenfranchisement to Enfranchisement again (to current possible Disenfranchisement). It starts with LBJ and the Voters Rights Act's beginning and lists every single struggle and slap in the face Blacks, the poor, the invisible have faced along the way to now.
    There are heroes and most certainly villains, boos and cheers, and it's absolutely extraordinary that here, in what we'd like to believe is the World's Greatest Democracy, gross handling and mishandling of the law exists. We're supposed to be better than what this history chronicles. But obviously, we're not.
    While most certainly a good book, "Give Us the Ballot" could've used some editing. I mean, truly, this is a book dedicated to the details of the horrific. At just over 12 hours, you get EVERYthing.
    Still, it's an eye-opener, and it'll make you more motivated to be engaged in conversations being had by those in power. Because what they've done, whether it be gerrymandering to blatant voter suppression laws, makes you think of Big Brother states.
    Wait a second. "They've"? Perhaps more like, "We've". After all, we've let them get away with it for a long, long time...

    17 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vincent. Akron, OH, United States 08-20-15
    Vincent. Akron, OH, United States 08-20-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    31
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Must read for all Adults"

    I became a voter when I was 26. Not because I was not registered but because I never realized how important it was. After this book I now know how important it truly is to vote in every election. 20 years have gone by since my first vote. I never realized how much I took for granted such a simple gesture. How many worked so hard for that right and how it is slowly being taken away for so many. I plan on sharing this book with all my friends. No longer about an identification but limiting who they want to vote.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolyn Hartsfield Hartford, CT, US 02-26-17
    Carolyn Hartsfield Hartford, CT, US 02-26-17 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A must read for all concerned about civil rights"
    If you could sum up Give Us the Ballot in three words, what would they be?

    Voting Rights Primer


    What did you like best about this story?

    Fascinating history of the battle for voting rights which continues up to this day and beyond. Illustrates the interplay between legislation, DOJ enforcement of legislation, and court rulings, any one of which can tip the scales in support of or in opposition to our right to vote.


    Any additional comments?

    Need to pay particular attention to the ploy of citing concern about voter fraud to restrict voting rights.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RC 10-30-16
    RC 10-30-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    64
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "informative but hard to follow"

    I wanted so much to enjoy this book because the topic is very near and dear to me. With the current state of our nation, many rights of minorities and persons of color are being challenged daily, so it is important to understand the foundation of the voting rights act and all the history behind it. That said, this book is probably better read than listened to. There are too many historical dates, people, and places crammed into it and way too fast-paced to follow it well. Furthermore, it seems to skip around without following a past to present time line which may have worked better. The narration isn't bad, just moves way to fast and skips around. Sadly, this is the first audio book I wasn't able to finish.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 09-28-15
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 09-28-15 Member Since 2017

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8855
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1342
    1304
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2312
    8
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Engrossing Narrative History of VRA"

    Berman says that the 1965 Voting Rights Amendment spawned an equally committed group of counterrevolutionaries. Since the V.R.A.’s passage, they have waged a decades-long campaign to restrict voting right. Berman argues that these counterrevolutionaries have in recent years controlled a majority on the Supreme Court and have set their sights on undoing the accomplishment of the 1960s Civil Rights movement.

    Berman explores how the debate over voting rights for the past 50 years has been a debate between two competing visions: Should the Voting Rights Act “simply provide access to the ballot,” as conservatives claim, or should it “police a much broader scope of the election system, which includes encouraging greater representation for African-American and other minority groups”? Every time the VRA comes up for renewal, from 1969 to 2006 the broader interpretation is endorsed by the Congress. The Supreme Court repeatedly responded by imposing the narrower interpretation by judicial fiat. Berman goes into great detail citing Supreme Court actions during this timeframe up to and including the Roberts’ Court to date.

    Berman shows how various Republican Presidents chose to do nothing that would affect their standing with black votes except for the gradual redistricting to create majority white or black districts.

    In 2013 the Supreme Court by a 5-4 vote struck down the formula Congress had adopted in 1965 and renewed for identifying jurisdictions subject to federal oversight. Chief Justice Roberts held that it violated the Constitution. In her blistering dissent Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Congress, not the Court, had the constitutional authority to define progress in Voting Rights.

    In 2014 fourteen States adopted voting restrictions. The numbers of voters potentially affected by new barriers to the ballot box exceeded the margin of victory in close races for Senate and Governors in North Carolina, Kansas, Virginia and Florida.
    Berman provides a narrative history rather than constitutional analysis. He just documents what has happened to the V.R.A. and documented the shift from Congress to the Court of the V.R.A. The book contains so much information that I just provided you with some brief highlights to help you decide to read the book. This is a must read book for every voter in this country. Tom Zingarelli narrated the book.

    14 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chalice Coleman Chicago, IL United States 10-29-16
    Chalice Coleman Chicago, IL United States 10-29-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    88
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent must read! History we all should know then you recognized when it's being repeated!"

    Passing a law is only step one. This gives details of what needs to be done to enforce it And why it matters who is in office

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Solomon G. New York, NY United States 01-03-16
    Solomon G. New York, NY United States 01-03-16 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant book on an essential subject"

    Ari Berman's history of the VRA's passage and the ballot wars that have subsequently ensued is complete, fascinating and fills one with desperate concern over ongoing attempts to undermine voting rights. Excellent. Must-read.

    7 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Herndon 04-21-17 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very illuminating and awakening book."

    The author weaves a coherent narrative from chaotic events. I now see the peril posed by the voting impediments newly adopted or proposed and the relentless attacks on the Voting Rights Act. Ari made me an activist for the right to cast a vote that has a meaningful chance of impacting the outcome of an election. I am grateful Ari wrote this book and that I read it now.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie Bauer 03-03-17
    Julie Bauer 03-03-17 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A must listen!"

    This gripping story of voting rights in America is not to be missed! Berman clearly and skillfully dissects, analyzes, and discusses each new development from the 60s to today. Wonderfully narrated and critical information for all voting age Americans

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Technologist for Too Long 02-06-17 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    24
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I keep referring and recommending this book"

    An interesting history of voting over the last 150 years, mostly focusing against the backdrop of how HAVA and the push to neutralize it has taken place over the last 20 years. It compares and contrasts the discussions and techniques to disenfranchise many in our country from allowing them to be able to vote and to have that vote count in an effective way. It takes a look at all the culprits and all the small ways and large ways that voting has been manipulated for so many of us in so many ways.

    What is interesting is how often it has been referenced directly and indirectly by people I respect, but also how many people don't understand all the causes and ways 'small steps' add up to significant results.

    Unfortunately, very current.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.