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[newsletter lifts] politics to a higher
level of discourse."
Political Book Award Winners, 1980 - 2009
Three decades' worth of paradigm-bending books
Radical Middle newsletter, founded by the Center for Visionary Law in 1998, issued an annual “Political Book Award” to the book that best exemplifies a politics that was
No author could win more than once, collections and anthologies were not eligible, and Radical Middle editor Mark Satin’s books were not eligible.
Awards prior to 1998 were issued retrospectively (see II below) or by Radical Middle’s predecessor newsletters, New Options and Renewal (see III and IV below).
I. THE WINNERS, 1998 - 2009
2009: Steven Lukes, The Curious Enlightenment of Professor Caritat: A Novel of Ideas, 2nd ed. (Verso). Radical Middle newsletter’s 12th Political Book Award – and Renewal / New Options / Radical Middle’s 30th consecutive (and final!!!) annual book award – goes to a “novel of ideas” by a politics & sociology prof. at NYU that makes beautiful sense of our newsletters’ three-decades-long evolutionary journey from countercultural Correct Line-ism to inclusivity and transpartisanship. This excerpt from the final chapter of Lukes’s novel can give you the flavor:
2008(T): Lawrence Chickering and James Turner, Voice of the People: The Transpartisan Imperative in American Life (daVinci Press). A worthy successor to such books as Ted Halstead and Michael Lind’s The Radical Center (2001 co-winner, see below) and Matt Miller’s The Two Percent Solution (2003 winner, see below) as well as my own book Radical Middle (2004). See our appreciation HERE.
2008(T): Alanna Hartzok, The Earth Belongs to Everyone (Institute for Economic Democracy Press). An “idealistic” book that’s grounded in sophisticated economic theory and impressive numbers-crunching, and includes moving accounts of the grassroots-activist author trying to spread her views. See our appreciation HERE.
2007: Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility (Houghton Mifflin). Lively and well-informed attempt to nudge the social change movement away from the "politics of limits" and toward a politics emphasizing optimism, technological innovation, human development, and sensitivity to the material ambitions of the developing world. See our review HERE.
2006: Anatol Lieven and John Hulsman, Ethical Realism: A Vision for America's Role in the World (Pantheon / Random House). Two policy analysts -- one on the left, one on the right -- passionately explicate the emerging radical-centrist alternative to interventionism and neo-isolationism. See our review HERE.
2005: George Packer, The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq (Farrar, Straus). The radical middle take on Iraq. We could have toppled Saddam without prolonged bloodshed -- IF we'd have worked with all Iraq's exile factions, worked more diligently with the rest of the world, refused to demonize the Baath Party, and sent in enough troops to preserve the peace. See our review HERE.
2004: John Avlon, Independent Nation: How the Vital Center Is Changing American Politics (Harmony / Random House). Creative centrists have already had a significant impact -- for the better -- on U.S. politics. See our review HERE.
2003: Matthew Miller, The Two Percent Solution: Fixing America’s Problems in Ways Liberals and Conservatives Can Love (PublicAffairs / Perseus). Practical and creative ways to fix the health care system, public education, the problems of the working poor, and more. See our review HERE.
2002: Richard Florida, The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life (Basic / Perseus). Credible portrait of the constituency for radical middle politics. Discussed under the subhead “Coming of the Creative Class” toward the middle of our article HERE.
2001(T): Walter Truett Anderson, All Connected Now: Life in the First Global Civilization (Westview / Perseus). The promise of globalization. Reviewed under the subhead “Connectedness Matters” about two-thirds of the way through our article HERE.
2001(T): Ted Halstead and Michael Lind, The Radical Center: The Future of American Politics (Doubleday). First U.S. book to present a full-blown radical middle ideology and program. The authors are co-founders of the New America Foundation. See our review HERE.
2000: Robert Wright, Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny (Pantheon / Random House). In the long view, both cultural and biological evolution tend toward non-zero-sumness -- i.e., tend toward cooperative, win-win behaviors. See our review HERE.
1999: William Ury, Getting to Peace, now published as The Third Side: Why We Fight and How We Can Stop (Viking / Penguin). Argues that radical middle governments should be teachers, mediators, equalizers, and referees. See our review HERE.
1998(T): Anthony Giddens, The Third Way (Polity / Blackwell). First book to outline a full-blown “radical centrist” (Giddens’s phrase) ideology and program. The author is director of the London School of Economics. Given its props in our article HERE.
1998(T): Alan Wolfe, One Nation, After All (Viking). What culture war? Most middle-class Americans are far more thoughtful, far more creative, and far more accommodating than many academics realize. Discussed in our Lakoff review HERE.
II. RETROSPECTIVE RADICAL MIDDLE BOOK AWARDS, 1991 - 1997
These books were chosen in the year of the Center for Visionary Law's founding (1998) by Mark Satin in consultation with former advisors to New Options newsletter, III below.
1997: Marian Chertow and Daniel Esty, eds., Thinking Ecologically: The Next Generation of Environmental Policy (Yale)
1996(T): Mark Gerzon, A House Divided: Six Belief Systems Struggling for America's Soul (Tarcher)
1996(T): Art Kleiner, The Age of Heretics: Heroes, Outlaws, and the Forerunners of Corporate Change (Doubleday). The revised and expanded edition, with a new subtitle, “A History of the Radical Thinkers Who Reinvented Corporate Management,” and a new publisher, Jossey-Bass / Wiley, 2008, is discussed by us HERE.
1995: David Hollinger, Postethnic America: Beyond Multiculturalism (Basic)
1994: Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (HarperBusiness)
1993: Amitai Etzioni, The Spirit of Community: The Reinvention of American Society (Crown)
1992: David Osborne and Ted Gaebler, Reinventing Government: How the Entrepreneurial Spirit Is Transforming the Public Sector (Addison-Wesley)
1991(T): E.J. Dionne Jr., Why Americans Hate Politics (Simon & Schuster)
1991(T): Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization (Doubleday)
III. NEW OPTIONS NEWSLETTER BOOK AWARDS, 1983 - 1990
New Options was Radical Middle's predecessor, and it eventually became the second largest independent political newsletter in the U.S., with 13,000 paying subscribers. You can learn more about New Options HERE, and a collection of some of New Options's best cover stories is available HERE. The New Options Political Book Award winners were chosen democratically by special marked ballots sent to all New Options subscribers.
1990: Herman Daly and John Cobb Jr., For the Common Good
1989: Thomas Berry, The Dream of the Earth
1988: Worldwatch Institute, State of the World (annual report)
1987: Robert Theobald, The Rapids of Change
1986: Marilyn French, Beyond Power
1985: Charlene Spretnak and Fritjof Capra, Green Politics
1984: Walter Truett Anderson, ed., Rethinking Liberalism
1983: Paul Hawken, James Ogilvy, and Peter Schwartz, Seven Tomorrows
IV. RENEWAL NEWSLETTER BOOK AWARDS, 1980 - 1982
Renewal was the newsletter of the New World Alliance. The Renewal Political Book Award winners were chosen by ballots sent to over 100 "transformation identified" academics and policy analysts who'd been in touch with the newsletter or the Alliance.
1982: Hazel Henderson, The Politics of the Solar Age
1981: Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy
1980: Jane Mansbridge, Beyond Adversary Democracy
V. STILL NOT SATISFIED?
ABOUT THE RADICAL MIDDLE CONCEPT
GREAT RADICAL MIDDLE GROUPS AND BLOGS:
SOME PRIOR RADICAL MIDDLE INITIATIVES:
SOME RADICAL MIDDLE LESSONS:
SOME PRIOR WRITINGS BY MARK SATIN:
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