Friday, August 12, 2011

Five books on progressivism

John Kerry is United States Senator for Massachusetts, and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the Democratic presidential nominee in the 2004 election, running against the incumbent George W Bush. Senator Kerry is a decorated Vietnam veteran, and the author of three books.

He discussed five books on progressivism with Neera Tanden at The Browser, including:
The Grapes of Wrath
by John Steinbeck

Your second book is The Grapes of Wrath.

If you wanted to pick a fictional work that really had a profound impact on people’s attitudes to the union movement, and about rights, unfairness and the social contract in America, it would be The Grapes of Wrath.

Progressivism is sort of built on the notion of addressing injustice. And that obviously animates the book.

It does indeed – very, very much so. It puts it in a context that people can really understand. While there is a story that takes place between characters, the hardship and unfairness is a central element of the book. It shows how fiction can create progressive change as well. I think it had a profound impact at any rate in shaping opinions. I think we need a new Grapes of Wrath today, a modern times version. Who knows, since not enough people read that much any more?
Read about the other books Kerry tagged.

The Grapes of Wrath also appears on Stephen King's five best list of books on globalization, John Mullan's list of ten of the best pieces of fruit in literature, and among Honor Blackman's six best books. It is one of Frederic Raphael's top ten talkative novels.

--Marshal Zeringue