Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together (Paperback)
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • 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—from the CNN host hailed as “a star of the 2016 campaign” (The New York Times), now seen on The Van Jones Show
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, during which he coined the term “whitelash,” 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.
In Beyond the Messy Truth, he offers a blueprint for transforming our collective anxiety into meaningful change. Jones urges both parties to abandon the politics of accusation. He issues a stirring call for a new “bipartisanship from below,” pointing us toward practical answers to problems that affect us all regardless of region or ideology. He wants to tackle 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. Along the way, Jones shares memories from his decades of activism on behalf of working people, inspiring stories of ordinary citizens who became champions of their communities, and little-known examples of cooperation in the midst 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 to help those most in need.
Includes an invaluable resource of contacts, books, media, and organizations for bipartisan bridge-building and problem solving.
“Van Jones is a light in the darkness when we need it most. 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, U.S. senator, New Jersey
“Van Jones’s voice has become an integral part of our national political debate. He is one of the most provocative and interesting political figures in the country.”—Bernie Sanders, U.S. senator, Vermont
About the Author
Van Jones is a CNN political contributor and host of the recurring CNN primetime special The Messy Truth with Van Jones. A graduate of the University of Tennessee and Yale Law School, he was a special adviser to the Obama White House and is the author of two New York Times bestsellers. Jones founded the social justice accelerator the Dream Corps and has led numerous social and environmental justice enterprises, including the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change, and Green For All. He has earned many honors, including the World Economic Forum’s “Young Global Leader” designation and a Webby Special Achievement Award, and he has been named one of Rolling Stone’s 12 Leaders Who Get Things Done, Fast Company’s 12 Most Creative Minds on Earth, and Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. He lives with his wife and two children in the Los Angeles area.
“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, U.S. senator, New Jersey
“Whether you agree or disagree with him, Van Jones’s voice has become an integral part of our national political debate. He is one of the most provocative and interesting political figures in the country.”—Bernie Sanders, U.S. senator, Vermont
“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
“Van Jones’s willingness to speak with, not to, those who may not traditionally hold his political and cultural point of view is on full display in Beyond the Messy Truth. In an age when hardworking families across America are feeling left behind, Van’s commitment to letting other voices be heard is much needed in today’s discourse.”—Rick Santorum, former senator of Pennsylvania and Republican presidential candidate
“If I say I’m actually friends with Van Jones, will that cause conservatives to read the book or just cause progressives not to? I hope they all read it—I disagree with Van on just about everything, but I respect him for being authentic in his convictions and for having the ability to articulate them forcefully but fairly.”—Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and Republican presidential candidate
“We should all be listening to Van Jones, because of how deeply he’s been listening to all kinds of people who are hurting in America. His vision for American politics calls forward the best of who we are, so that we can engage with humanity and solve real problems together.”—Ai-jen Poo, director, National Domestic Workers Alliance and co-director, Caring Across Generations
“Those of us who truly believe in the power of love and aloha welcome Beyond the Messy Truth with open arms, in the hope that it will be read by those from all parts of the country and all points on the political spectrum. This book will help start conversations and bring people together to find common ground and work toward a better America.”—Tulsi Gabbard, U.S. congresswoman, Hawaii
“What you will find in these pages is the work of one of the most thoughtful and honest progressives on the American political scene. We disagree, and our debates can get, well, messy. But every so often, we find a place of agreement and cause to celebrate. The great battle of ideas is a bedrock of our democracy—and there is no one better at this than Van Jones.”—Jeffrey Lord, political strategist and former CNN commentator