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Commons is a new, independent imprint whose name echoes the belief in a very old and democratic idea of public life that is both active and reflective, that entails a willingness to speak one’s mind freely in front of one’s fellow citizens, but also to weigh soberly the reasoning and judgment of others, no matter how opposed to one’s own perspectives they might at first appear. In that tradition, we will publish books that seek to engage thoughtfully with the critical issues facing Americans, and the world, in this new century.

  The Politicos The Politicos 
 By Matthew Josephson 

With a preface by Thomas Frank and an introduction by Michael Kazin

Out of print for decades, The Politicos: 1865-1896, Matthew Josephson’s sequel to his instant classic, The Robber Barons, is even more resonant—indeed, cautionary—a historical account today than it was when first published seventy years ago. Written during the most desperate time in twentieth-century America, this biting chronicle of the Gilded Age confirmed in most Americans’ minds why they had voted overwhelmingly for FDR and had embraced the New Deal’s reforms. In his insightful introductory essay to this new edition, Michael Kazin (author of A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan) notes that “Josephson was able to convince readers living through the worst of the Great Depression that the roots of their calamity could be traced to the power and greed so notorious at the end of the last century.” In his preface to the book, Thomas Frank (author of What’s the Matter with Kansas) praises it as the “volume of history that has the most to teach us about the present.”

 $35.00 Buy Now 
  Walking to Guantánamo Walking to Guantánamo 
 By Richard Fleming 

“I admit that it was a strange idea,” Richard Fleming writes in the opening chapter of his engaging debut as a writer. Despite having a wonderful girlfriend, a downtown Manhattan apartment, and a thriving career, he is afraid that his life is spiraling into “nightmarish mediocrity.” After obsessing over the notion for years, he finally decides that crossing the island of Cuba on foot might somehow rescue him from the fate he fears. Walking to Guantánamo (October 2008) is the chronicle of that journey.

And a thoroughly self-deprecating and wry chronicle it is. Rarely has a book about Cuba been so shorn of pretension, ideological blinders, or misplaced romanticism—and hardly ever has it been so genuinely funny. Fleming’s vision of the Pearl of the Antilles is, in the phrase of Madison Smartt Bell, truly “ground-level.” Uninterested in—and certainly unfazed by—either the hysterical attitude of the US government or the smug pose of the Cuban one, Richard Fleming sets out across Cuba literally one step at a time.

In doing so, he reveals a popular culture, particularly in music and spiritual life, of deep complexity. A discerning observer of daily life who rejects the clichés of Cuba’s enemies and friends alike, Richard Fleming ranges over the Cuban countryside with a rare ability to distinguish reality from façade and slogan from fact—and to do it all in often hilarious if singularly modest style.

Fleming has produced a fascinating, wry, vividly detailed and elegantly written account of a trip that no one else is likely to take.
The Miami Herald - The full review is available here.
Richard Fleming’s name can now be added to that noble lineage of white men who go deep into the dark heart of a foreign country and return bearing light and insight.
The SunPost - The full review is available here.

To listen to a BBC World interview with author Richard Fleming, click here.


 $27.00 Buy Now 
  Walking to Guantánamo-Paperback Walking to Guantánamo-Paperback 
 By Richard Fleming 

“I admit that it was a strange idea,” Richard Fleming writes in the opening chapter of his engaging debut as a writer. Despite having a wonderful girlfriend, a downtown Manhattan apartment, and a thriving career, he is afraid that his life is spiraling into “nightmarish mediocrity.” After obsessing over the notion for years, he finally decides that crossing the island of Cuba on foot might somehow rescue him from the fate he fears. Walking to Guantánamo (October 2008) is the chronicle of that journey.

And a thoroughly self-deprecating and wry chronicle it is. Rarely has a book about Cuba been so shorn of pretension, ideological blinders, or misplaced romanticism—and hardly ever has it been so genuinely funny. Fleming’s vision of the Pearl of the Antilles is, in the phrase of Madison Smartt Bell, truly “ground-level.” Uninterested in—and certainly unfazed by—either the hysterical attitude of the US government or the smug pose of the Cuban one, Richard Fleming sets out across Cuba literally one step at a time.

In doing so, he reveals a popular culture, particularly in music and spiritual life, of deep complexity. A discerning observer of daily life who rejects the clichés of Cuba’s enemies and friends alike, Richard Fleming ranges over the Cuban countryside with a rare ability to distinguish reality from façade and slogan from fact—and to do it all in often hilarious if singularly modest style.

Fleming has produced a fascinating, wry, vividly detailed and elegantly written account of a trip that no one else is likely to take.
The Miami Herald - The full review is available here.
Richard Fleming’s name can now be added to that noble lineage of white men who go deep into the dark heart of a foreign country and return bearing light and insight.
The SunPost - The full review is available here.

To listen to a BBC World interview with author Richard Fleming, click here.


 $16.00 Buy Now 
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