cover image Rise Up: Confronting a Country at the Crossroads

Rise Up: Confronting a Country at the Crossroads

Al Sharpton. Hanover Square, $27.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-335-96662-9

Civil rights activist Sharpton (The Rejected Stone) interweaves memoir and progressive polemic in this impassioned survey of contemporary American politics. Highlighting his experiences on the front lines of protests over police brutality, anti-immigration policies, and voter suppression, and frequently drawing lessons from Christian scripture, Sharpton weighs in on a wide range of contemporary political and social issues. He casts Donald Trump’s presidency as a racist, knee-jerk reaction to the Obama presidency; laments the national response to the coronavirus pandemic; and defends former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protests as an important symbolic critique of racial inequality. Sharpton also expresses support for the #MeToo movement and the idea that Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden should pick a woman for vice president. Noting that Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies are much harsher than those of his predecessors, Sharpton calls for a broad, multiracial progressive coalition to restore Democrats to the White House in 2020. Lacing his analysis with anecdotes about his interactions with James Brown, Coretta Scott King, Nelson Mandela, and other luminaries, Sharpton makes a persuasive case that America has reached “a historical turning point that’s testing our moral character and endangering all we have fought to gain.” Liberals will be inspired by this well-informed call to action. Agent: Josh Getzler, HG Literary. (Sept.)