United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A passionate new voice in American politics, United States Senator Cory Booker makes the case that the virtues of empathy, responsibility, and action must guide our nation toward a brighter future.
Raised in northern New Jersey, Cory Booker went to Stanford University on a football scholarship, accepted a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, then studied at Yale Law School. Graduating from Yale, his options were limitless.
He chose public service.
He chose to move to a rough neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey, where he worked as a tenants’ rights lawyer before winning a seat on the City Council. In 2006, he was elected mayor, and for more than seven years he was the public face of an American city that had gone decades with too little positive national attention and investment. In 2013, Booker became the first African American elected to represent New Jersey in the U.S. Senate.
In United, Cory Booker draws on personal experience to issue a stirring call to reorient our nation and our politics around the principles of compassion and solidarity. He speaks of rising above despair to engage with hope, pursuing our shared mission, and embracing our common destiny.
Here is his account of his own political education, the moments—some entertaining, some heartbreaking, all of them enlightening—that have shaped his civic vision. Here are the lessons Booker learned from the remarkable people who inspired him to serve, men and women whose example fueled his desire to create opportunities for others. Here also are his observations on the issues he cares about most deeply, from race and crime and the crisis of mass incarceration to economic and environmental justice.
“Hope is the active conviction that despair will never have the last word,” Booker writes in this galvanizing book. In a world where we too easily lose touch with our neighbors, he argues, we must remember that we all rise or fall together—and that we must move beyond mere tolerance for one another toward a deeper connection: love.
Praise for United
“An exceedingly good book, and an important book, and a reminder of what makes Booker an important and, through it all, a promising public figure.”—PolitickerNJ
“What sets Senator Booker’s work apart from that of similar political books is that it seeks to elevate discourse rather than bring down opponents of the opposite partisan persuasion. This is a refreshing take, one that is truly worthy of study and contemplation.”—The Huffington Post
who had taken risks, who had gone into the marketplace and increased their count. He said to each of the two, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” He rewarded them by bestowing on them more riches. And then he turned to the third, the one who had buried his talent out of fear. He admonished him, called him wicked for his conduct, and took the talent back. Son, don’t bury what God gave you. Don’t be the wicked one. This world doesn’t need your self-imposed limitations; it doesn’t need your
McGrath’s rather understated explanation.) Sharpe James’s war on his upstart opponent isn’t only being fought with words. Booker supporters have been trailed by the cops, deluged with blizzards of parking tickets. Booker’s phone has been tapped. He has been escorted out of public housing and city parks. Tenants in public housing have been told by Housing Authority employees they could be evicted if they keep Booker signs in their windows. The truth is, I think the mayor’s rhetoric was hardest
was born poor to a single mother, Mary Willie Booker, who was born poor to Nannie Bailey, who was born to Talithia Givens, who was most likely a slave. My father often talked about how fortunate he was. He had a profound work ethic; I’ve never encountered anyone who could outwork my dad, and he took great pride in this. Yet he was cognizant of the fact that hard work had been necessary but not sufficient to break him out of the circumstances of his birth. It was also the small and consistent
September, weeks until Election Day, and I was riding with our police director, Sammy DeMaio, one of the most dedicated professionals I had on my team. We drove through the city, visiting high-crime areas, talking with patrol officers, stopping to chat with community leaders and residents. It was good to be on the streets; it was good to be in the community again, connecting. Between stops, Sammy was proudly telling me about his fourteen-year-old son, who had just started playing freshman
heinous of crimes. Yet they still go home from work to be with their families, only to come back again the next day and dedicate themselves to the job once more. In my first term as mayor, our city lowered crime significantly. In 2008, Newark experienced its longest stretch of time without a murder since 1961, and in 2010, it experienced its first calendar month without a murder since 1966. Making clear that this was not a statistical anomaly, the New York Times reported that Columbia economist