Politics Is for Power: How to Move Beyond Political Hobbyism, Take Action, and Make Real Change

Eitan Hersh. Scribner, $27 (288p) ISBN 978-1-9821-1678-1
Tufts University political science professor Hersh argues in this earnest yet somewhat mislabeled debut that “political hobbyism,” the practice of obsessively consuming political news without engaging in real-world activism, is not only a waste of time, but is actively harming American democracy. In 2018, Hersh surveyed “a random sample of 1,000 Americans” about their political engagement. The vast majority of respondents admitted that they didn’t volunteer for a political organization, with most declaring that they didn’t have the time to do so. Yet more than half also acknowledged spending an hour or more every day reading about politics or watching political news programs. Hersh argues that hobbyism inflames public opinion on both sides of the political spectrum, making elected officials less likely to compromise. He provides case studies of activists who put serious effort into advocating for their preferred causes, and, in the book’s final 20 pages, offers specific guidance on how readers can stop being hobbyists and start participating in the political process by performing community service or becoming an elected delegate. Though it’s billed as a how-to, the book leans more toward cultural study. While readers may wish that Hersh had included more practical advice, this richly detailed account effectively highlights an issue affecting contemporary political discourse. Agent: Jill Kneerim, Kneerim & Williams Literary Agency. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 11/05/2019
Release date: 01/14/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-0432-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-7971-0434-8
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