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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of What's the Matter with Kansas, a scathing look at the standard-bearers of liberal politics - a book that asks: What's the matter with Democrats?

It is a widespread belief among liberals that if only Democrats can continue to dominate national elections, if only those awful Republicans are beaten into submission, the country will be on the right course. But this is to fundamentally misunderstand the modern Democratic Party. Drawing on years of research and first-hand reporting, Frank points out that the Democrats have done little to advance traditional liberal goals: expanding opportunity, fighting for social justice, and ensuring that workers get a fair deal. Indeed, they have scarcely dented the free-market consensus at all. This is not for lack of opportunity: Democrats have occupied the White House for 16 of the last 24 years, and yet the decline of the middle class has only accelerated. Wall Street gets its bailouts, wages keep falling, and the free-trade deals keep coming.

With his trademark sardonic wit and lacerating logic, Frank lays bare the essence of the Democratic Party's philosophy and how it has changed over the years. A form of corporate and cultural elitism has largely eclipsed the party's old working-class commitment, he finds. For certain favored groups, this has meant prosperity. But for the nation as a whole, it is a one-way ticket into the abyss of inequality. In this critical election year, Frank recalls the Democrats to their historic goals - the only way to reverse the ever-deepening rift between the rich and the poor in America.

©2016 Thomas Frank (P)2016 Macmillan Audio

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Wow! Such an eye opener!

What made the experience of listening to Listen, Liberal the most enjoyable?

I grew up in a Republican household and consider myself to be fiscally conservative and socially moderate. I never really knew much about the evolution of the modern Democrat party, and this book really helped me see the transition. The author is very clear and concise when speaking and I found myself in many ah-ha moments.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Listen, Liberal?

Frank is not afraid to explore the mistakes of past Democratic administrations. I like he is not afraid to critique the actions of Clinton and Obama, and frame them as a variance from traditional (Historical) working class Democrat values.

Which scene was your favorite?

Overall, the first parts of the book where he talks about elitism, pedigree, and merit system of the Neo-Liberal Class.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

That I might be a 50's Democrat since I am surely not a modern Republican

Any additional comments?

I came across this author during an NPR interview on Monday (3/21) and downloaded the audio book immediately afterwards. My wife, who is on the extreme left, also enjoyed it.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Brad
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 03-27-16

Every Liberal should read

An important and timely book. Explains clearly how the Democratic Party has lost its soul. Does and excellent job of chronicling the Clinton years and the Obama Presidency. Excellent work for Progressives to use going forward.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • jdukuray
  • Seattle, WA United States
  • 07-22-16

Diagnosis for all that ails us

What about Thomas Frank’s performance did you like?

Frank did a great job reading his own books, it was almost as though he were talking to you in person. He also conveyed the passion of his thinking.

Any additional comments?

I think this is a brilliant book that captures so much of what has gone wrong in government in recent decades. Frank is especially good on ideas of meritocracy, innovation, and the general conversion of all things to the bottom line. Meanwhile work has become ever more alienating and insufficient except for the comfortable educated elites. Working people have been made to seem inessential, unworthy, and generally less-than. The Democratic party has forgotten that it was once the party of working people. Now both political parties are mainly beholden to big money, with dire consequences currently and on the horizon if we don't conceive a new way to govern and manage the economy.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Every frustrated democrat should read this

Democrats who feels like the democratic party is broken and isn't really representing them anymore should read this book. It's a disturbing summation of what our own party has done to make income inequality worse, and provides a lot of insight into why working class folks haven't really been moved by their arguments.

Dark reading, though.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Exceptional!

A very telling and necessary account as to why the Democratic Party abandoned the working class. This is a MUST read for all the Independents and disenfranchised working class voters in America.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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All criticism and no solutions

This book perfectly captures the historical progression of the Democratic Party and societal trends in elite circles that have led to the election of Donald Trump. It is a hard look in the mirror for any college educated person who regards themselves as a social progressive. That being said the book is full of chastising and hindsight criticism that doesn't take into account the historical difficulties faced by those in power. It also doesn't provide any decent alternative positions that Democratic leadership could have pursued as an alternative. There are a lot of chapters that read like this, President X did Y cozying up to the bankers and further hurting average Americans. Yet the author, unfairly in my opinion, rarely, even with the benefit, spends more than a few pages discussing a better course of action. All in all an important read but one that mostly diagnosis with little prescription.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • SE
  • oklahoma city, ok
  • 05-14-16

Frank's best so far...thats saying a lot!

Highest recommendation possible....really a good book. Hopefully it will do some good....lots of work to do to fix the mess he articulates so well.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Prescient

Thomas Frank does a fantastic job of weaving together observations of American Class Blindness and the popularization of socio-economic meritocracy to help define what has left many in the working class voiceless in today's political market, and powerless in the jobs market.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • bv
  • 05-15-16

This book really made me think

Thomas Frank really made me think. He calls for his readers and the Democratic Party to remember the roots of liberalism and to support all workers instead of focusing on innovation and opportunities for education to solve all our problems. I liked this book at least as much as I liked What's the Matter with Kansas.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Read Now!

Would you listen to Listen, Liberal again? Why?

I'm a political junkie and I've been waiting for this book to come on the scene for 30 years. Things you knew but couldn't quite put your finger on and there he's put it. Brilliant.

What did you like best about this story?

taking down the Democrats and opening an avenue for a better way.

What does Thomas Frank bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I felt like I was more in a conversation then an observer.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It was I had an itch that needed be scratched and god did it feel good.

Any additional comments?

No, just read and start a conversation.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful