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“Books have always played a pivotal role in our nation’s history,changing America in remarkable ways. Imagine the American Revolutionwithout Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. Where would the abolitionistmovement have been without Uncle Tom’s Cabin? How would the socialreforms of the Progressive Era ever have been enacted without UptonSinclair’s The Jungle? What would be the condition of the naturalenvironment today if Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring had never beenpublished?”
This strong articulation of the power of books–and the ideas theybring to our politics and culture–comes from the mission statement forthe newest organization in the progressive firmament, the ProgressiveBook Club (PBC). At this defining moment in our nation’s history–a time which demands we examine complex issues from new perspectives, ask toughquestions and press for real change–it’s very good news that a venturelike PBC, dedicated, like The Nation, to enriching our political andcultural conversation and debate, launches today.
As editor and publisher of a magazine that has taken ideas seriously for143 years, I’m very pleased to be a part of its Editorial Board, along with Michael Chabon, Dave Eggers, Barbara Kingsolver, Hendrik Hertzberg, Edwidge Danticat, Mark Danner, John Podesta, Andy Stern, Bill McKibben, Robert Scheer, Jeff Faux, Eric Foner, Markos Moulitsas Zuníga, Amy Wilentz, Joan Bingham, Lewis Lapham and others.
I believe that the return of ideas to our politics is criticalas we rebuild and strengthen our democracy. It’s also a vital time toenrich the marketplace of ideas and challenge a media universe which toooften trivializes and sensationalizes politics.
“As Americans become increasingly involved with the political processand concerned about our nation’s direction, the progressive movement isat a critical crossroads,” said Elizabeth Wagley, Progressive Book Clubfounder and CEO. “We’ve created an innovative platform that encouragespeople to explore important issues and engage in debate, whileempowering them to learn more–and do more–to make a difference.”