Progressive Book Club PBC

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  • Welcome to the Progressive Book Club, a unique new space for debate, discussion and community based on that venerable yet still so vital form of media: the printed word.
  • More than two centuries ago, Thomas Paine published Common Sense, the radical democratic inspiration for mass support of the American Revolution. Books have played a critical role in American politics ever since, regardless of changes in technology, culture, politics, and communications … (about 1/2).

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About 2/2: … It was Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass that galvanized the abolitionist movement. It was Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle – with its gripping portrait of rapacious industry – that inspired the reforms of the Progressive Era. 

It was Michael Harrington’s The Other America that sparked the War on Poverty, including the establishment of Medicaid, Medicare, the Food Stamp program and the expansion of Social Security benefits. It was Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and Ralph Nader’s Unsafe at Any Speed that spawned the modern environmental and consumer movements. And today it’s books such as Fiasco and Hubris and Imperial Life in the Emerald City that expose the disastrous folly of the war in Iraq.

Books have changed America for good and for ill, and they’ll continue to do so. At PBC, our mission is to find the titles – and ideas – that can change our nation for the better and bring them to the forefront of the national debate.

That’s why every month, starting this summer, we’ll bring you the best of biography, history, politics, science, spirituality, and fiction. We’ll showcase new ideas and new authors for a new progressive era. We’ll push back hard against conservative ideology – and help restore intellectual balance and honesty to our political culture.

Here at PBC, you’ll find a lively forum for learning, meeting new friends, and engaging the essential issues of our time and our history. You’ll be able to buy new books at highly competitive prices, join online and off-line discussions, and interact with authors. Just as important, you’ll help to build a powerful movement by underwriting progressive organizations and media with the dollars you spend here. Every time you buy a book from PBC, a significant portion of the proceeds will be donated to groups doing the kind of work that you support.

Our Editorial Board, comprising some of the brightest and most original thinkers of our time, will sort through thousands of choices to identify the most fascinating, critical and inspiring books every month. And you, our members, can take part in this process as advance readers, reviewers, and recommenders.

We started PBC because we realized that conservatives had used books, book clubs, and publishing to lend currency and legitimacy to their ideas – and that unless progressives learned to use those same tools, right-wing ideas would prevail for the foreseeable future. With the renewal of a vibrant progressive movement, we believe that America is again ready to embrace new ideas and to honor traditional ideals.

Now tell us what you think: What issues matter most to you right now? What ideas excite you? What books and authors do you want to see on the PBC site? Let us know by email or post a comment on our blog. We look forward to hearing from you.

By Elizabeth Wagley, CEO of Progressive Book Club.

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