Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America

by July 11, 2017

There have been countless books written about the civil rights movement, but far less attention has been paid to what happened after the dramatic passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 and the turbulent forces it unleashed. Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America tells this story for the first time.

In this groundbreaking narrative history, Ari Berman charts both the transformation of American democracy under the Voting Rights Act and the counterrevolution that has sought to limit voting rights from 1965 to the present day. The act enfranchised millions of Americans and is widely regarded as the crowning achievement of the civil rights movement. And yet fifty years later we are still fighting heated battles over race, representation, and political power, with lawmakers devising new strategies to keep minorities out of the voting booth and the Supreme Court declaring a key part of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional.

Berman brings the struggle over voting rights to life through meticulous archival research, in-depth interviews with key figures in the debate and incisive on-the-ground reporting. He vividly takes the reader from the demonstrations of the civil rights movement to the halls of Congress to the chambers of the Supreme Court.

At this important historical moment, Give Us the Ballot provides new insight into one of the most vital political and civil rights issues of our time.

New York Times Notable Book of 2015
Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of 2015
Boston Globe Best Book of 2015
Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of 2015
An NPR Best Book of 2015

About The Author

bermanbio2

Ari Berman is a senior contributing writer for The Nation magazine and a Reporting Fellow at The Nation Institute. Business Insider named Berman one of the “50 most influential political pundits” in the US. He’s written extensively about American politics, civil rights, and the intersection of money and politics. His stories have also appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, Politico and The Guardian, and he is a frequent guest and political commentator on MSNBC, NPR and C-Span. He’s lectured extensively around the country, including at the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court.

His book, Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, was published in August 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and in paperback by Picador. It was named one of the best books of 2015 by the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, the Boston Globe and Kirkus Reviews. Give Us the Ballot was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction and a nominee for the American Library Association’s Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence. Writing in the Washington Post, Congressman John Lewis called the book “a must read” and “a primer for every American.”

Berman’s first book, Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics, was published in October 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University with a degree in journalism and political science.

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