cover image Twelve Steps Toward Political Revelation

Twelve Steps Toward Political Revelation

Walter Mosley. Nation, $12 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-1-56858-642-7

Mosley's slim manifesto aims to foment an American "intellectual revolution," but it offers few original ideas toward realizing that end. Linking personal unhappiness to political disenfranchisement, the acclaimed thriller writer of the Easy Rawlins series, prescribes a 12-step program for kicking "Americanism"%E2%80%94an addictive and pernicious ideology that encourages "tolerance to lies, worldwide aggression... pain and lifelong unhappiness." Social ills can be cured through communication: dialogue between the young and old, between friends, between people who have a single political agenda in common%E2%80%94the last through a semi-conceived Web site he calls "Democracy Initiative." Elsewhere, Mosley's "steps toward revolution" might be better defined as banal exercises in self-help (he argues that therapy can be a tool for political change because it is a safe space for "revolutionary exchanges" and attaining objectivity), recapping Marx, or well-intentioned irrelevance (it's "the responsibility of every person in the nation to tell the truth at least once a day"). Though Mosley is admirably candid about his own struggles with addiction and depression, and his prose can sing, as a catalyst the book is more likely to spark frustration than epiphany (May)