Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together

by November 22, 2017

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—by the CNN political contributor and host hailed as “a star of the 2016 campaign” (The New York Times) who coined the term “whitelash”

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 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.

Now, in Beyond the Messy Truth, Jones offers a blueprint for transforming our collective anxiety into meaningful change. Tough on Donald Trump but showing respect and empathy for his supporters, Jones takes aim at the failures of both parties before and after Trump’s victory. He urges both sides to abandon the politics of accusation and focus on real solutions. Calling us to a deeper patriotism, he shows us how to get down to the vital business of solving, together, some of our toughest problems.

“The entire national conversation today can be reduced to a simple statement—‘I’m right, and you’re wrong,’” Jones has said. But the truth is messier; both sides have flaws. Both parties have strayed from their highest principles and let down their core constituencies. Rejecting today’s political tribalism, Jones issues a stirring call for a new “bipartisanship from below.” Recognizing that tough challenges require the best wisdom from both liberals and conservatives, he points us toward practical answers to problems that affect us all regardless of region or ideology: 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.

In explaining how he arrived at his views, Jones shares behind-the-scenes memories from his decades spent marching and protesting on behalf of working people, inspiring stories of ordinary citizens who became champions of their communities, and little-known examples of cooperation that have risen from the fog 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 where the pain is greatest.

The audio edition includes a PDF of resources for getting involved and making a difference.

Advance praise for Beyond the Messy Truth

“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

“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

“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

Includes an invaluable resource of contacts, books, media, and organizations for bipartisan bridge-building and problem solving.

Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together

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—by the CNN political contributor and host hailed as “a star of the 2016 campaign” (The New York Times) who coined the term “whitelash”

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 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.

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Random House Audio; Unabridged edition (October 10, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525524762
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525524762
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.2 x 5.9 inches

Van Jones

Van Jones is a social entrepreneur, CNN political contributor and host of The Messy Truth with Van Jones. Famous for his heart-felt election night coverage, Jones showed up as “the voice of reason” for people in red states and blue throughout the volatile 2016 political season. In response to much civil unrest and energy post election, Jones launched the #Love Army — a values based movement that is working for an America where everyone counts.

Jones has founded and led numerous social enterprises engaged in social and environmental justice.

These include:

The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, which promotes criminal justice reform

Color of Change, which works for racial fairness through its over one million members

Rebuild The Dream, a 21st Century “think tank” that champions innovative solutions to fix the U.S. economy and uplift the next generation. which promotes innovative policy solutions.

The Dream Corps, an organization that brings people together to solve America’s toughest problems. The Dream Corps’ major initiatives are: #YesWeCode, aimed to help 100,000 young women and men from underrepresented backgrounds find success in the tech sector; #cut50, an initiative focused on making communities safer while reducing the number of people in our prisons and jails. And Green For All, which advances environmental solutions that prioritize families and workers living on the frontlines of some of the worst pollution in America.

Magic Labs Media, founded by Jones and where he currently serves as its President.

Jones is a Yale-educated attorney. He is the author of two New York Times best-selling books, The Green Collar Economy (2008) and Rebuild the Dream (2012). The second book chronicles his journey as an environmental and human rights activist to becoming a White House policy advisor.

He was the main advocate for the Green Jobs Act. Signed into law by George W. Bush in 2007, the Green Jobs Act was the first piece of federal legislation to codify the term “green jobs.” During the Obama Administration, the legislation has resulted in $500 million in national funding for green jobs training.

In 2009, Jones worked as the green jobs advisor to President Barack Obama. In this role, Jones helped to lead the inter-agency process that oversaw the multi-billion dollar investment in skills training and jobs development within the environmental and green energy sectors.

Jones has been honored with numerous awards and spotlighted on several lists of high achievers, including: the World Economic Forum’s “Young Global Leader” designation; Rolling Stone’s 2012 “12 Leaders Who Get Things Done”; TIME’s 2009 “100 Most Influential People in The World”; and the Root’s 2014 “The Root 100.” In 2017, Van Jones signed a management deal with Roc Nation, becoming the first political commentator & activist in their family. Jones lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife & two children.

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