cover image Grounded: A Senator’s Lessons on Winning Back Rural America

Grounded: A Senator’s Lessons on Winning Back Rural America

Jon Tester, with Aaron Murphy. Ecco, $29.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-06-297748-9

Montana senator Tester’s candid and appealing debut interweaves autobiography and insights into the issues and values that resonate with rural voters. In addition to serving in Congress as a Democrat, Tester manages the family farm started by his grandfather in 1912. He vividly describes losing three fingers in a childhood accident at the farm’s butcher shop, and recalls attending college on a music scholarship; marrying his wife a few months after they started “going steady”; and taking over the farm at age 21 in 1978. After serving on the local school board and in the state senate, Tester won election to the U.S. Senate in 2006. He highlights his advocacy for veterans and writes poignantly about how his relationship with his son, who is gay, helped to change his views on LGBTQ rights. Tester was reelected in 2018—despite being in the middle of a spat with the White House over Trump’s nominee for secretary of veterans affairs—and suggests that his fellow Democrats need to relearn “how to speak to the folks who shower at the end of the day.” Tester relates his unique personal story with plainspoken charm, and offers helpful advice for red-state Democrats. This political memoir stands apart from the pack. Agent: Julie Stevenson, Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents. (Sept.)