CRASHING THE PARTY: How to Tell the Truth and Still Run for President

Ralph Nader, Author . St. Martin's $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-312-28433-6

This jaunty, provocative and entertaining on-the-road memoir/manifesto maps out Nader's political philosophy and provides the Nader take on the contemporary U.S. political scene. Whether it is what he sees as the corruption of the national media—"I can't overemphasize the influence of The New York Times and Washington Post in setting the scene for the rest of the media"—or the need to resuscitate the town meeting as he did repeatedly during his campaign tour, Nader presents a strong case that national politics is run more by money than issues and that there is a "democracy gap" that "discourages people from shaping the future for our country." Like a plucky protagonist in a Frank Capra film, Nader insists on speaking up for the little people and backs his arguments and decent sentiments with hard facts: an appendix of stats on affordable housing needs, "corporate welfare," personal bankruptcies, uneven distribution of wealth and the current minimum wage (which, adjusted for inflation, is lower than it was in 1979) is an impressive indictment of the state of the national economy. Holding up last November's squalid election bickering as the end result of a fatigued system—"To tell you the truth, I think they [the people] never really liked either one of them," he quotes Gore's own campaign manager as saying—Nader, ever optimistic, ends his book with a pragmatic 10-point "First Stage Goals for a Better America." (Jan.)

Forecast:Despite the general shift of interest away from last year's election, Nader's faithful and other opponents of two-party domination will undoubtedly seek this out. It should do well in areas where he has strong support.

Reviewed on: 12/17/2001
Release date: 01/01/2002
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