OVERRIDE

Promises Betrayed

Waking Up from the American Dream

Bob Herbert

Times Books

The award-winning New York Times op-ed columnist probes the widening gap between
American ideals and American realities, and urges us to do something about it

Bob Herbert is the conscience of the op-ed page of The New York Times, and his work is characterized by a strong moral vision and a deep understanding of the human costs of political decisions. From partisan politics to popular culture, from race relations to criminal justice, few journalists bring to life so movingly the stories of ordinary people caught between the American dream and American realities. Whether it is the inherent injustice of the death penalty or the demagoguery of the war on terrorism, Herbert questions whether we are truly upholding our ideals or merely giving them lip service.

In Promises Betrayed, Herbert makes the case that in recent years America has too often failed to live up to its creed of fairness and justice in the lives of working people, racial minorities, children, and others not among the powerful. He introduces us to real people facing real problems and trying to maintain their dignity along the way, and he blows the whistle on imperious public officials who think the rules of common decency do not apply to them. Herbert's tenacious reporting has resulted in the overturning of many wrongful convictions and the release of dozens of innocent people from prison. In these and so many other ways, Herbert keeps us all honest and lives up to the journalist's credo: to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

The award-winning New York Times op-ed columnist probes the widening gap between
American ideals and American realities, and urges us to do something about it

Bob Herbert is the conscience of the op-ed page of The New York Times, and his work is characterized by a strong moral vision and a deep understanding of the human costs of political decisions. From partisan politics to popular culture, from race relations to criminal justice, few journalists bring to life so movingly the stories of ordinary people caught between the American dream and American realities. Whether it is the inherent injustice of the death penalty or the demagoguery of the war on terrorism, Herbert questions whether we are truly upholding our ideals or merely giving them lip service.

In Promises Betrayed, Herbert makes the case that in recent years America has too often failed to live up to its creed of fairness and justice in the lives of working people, racial minorities, children, and others not among the powerful. He introduces us to real people facing real problems and trying to maintain their dignity along the way, and he blows the whistle on imperious public officials who think the rules of common decency do not apply to them. Herbert's tenacious reporting has resulted in the overturning of many wrongful convictions and the release of dozens of innocent people from prison. In these and so many other ways, Herbert keeps us all honest and lives up to the journalist's credo: to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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From Promises Betrayed:
On the morning of July 23, 1999, law enforcement officers fanned out and arrested more than 10 percent of the tiny African-American population of Tulia, Texas, a hot, dusty town of 5,000 about fifty miles south of Amarillo.
The humiliating roundup was intensely covered by the local media, which had been tipped off in advance. Men and women, bewildered and unkempt, were paraded before TV cameras and featured prominently on the evening news. They were drug traffickers, one and all, said the sheriff.
Among the forty-six so-called traffickers were a pig farmer,
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REVIEWS

Praise for Promises Betrayed

"Beneath the sharp analysis and straightforward prose of Bob Herbert's columns is dogged and, often, ferocious reporting. Herbert is determined to narrate in vivid detail the tragedies and triumphs of invisible Americans in their everyday lives. Whether writing about criminal injustice in Tulia, Texas, or worlds at war in Iraq, Herbert brings to bear on his subjects fierce intelligence, no-nonsense reasoning, and unflinching honesty. This book is essential reading for anyone concerned about the state of the American people-and, by extension, of our country-as we plunge headlong into the twenty-first century."
-Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

"Bob Herbert's strong, brilliant voice consistently reminds America of where we still fall short of the ideals of the nation we want to be and can become."
-Marian Wright Edelman

"You will not forget the people in this book. They are people Bob Herbert will not let us forget. His journalism has the power of Dickens to enable us to see life as others experience it. In an era that may one day be known for the tragic meltdown of American journalism, Bob Herbert brings us back to the fundamentals-to what happens to our craft when it is practiced by a man who considers it a calling."
-Bill Moyers

"Bob Herbert is the conscience of a great newspaper, a powerfully compelling and consistent voice for underdogs of all colors, ages, and genders. With Promises Betrayed, you can read him in one big, bracing, highly nutritional dose that will propel you off the couch and into action!"
-Barbara Ehrenreich

"Beneath the sharp analysis and straightforward prose of Bob Herbert's columns is dogged and, often, ferocious reporting. Herbert is determined to narrate in vivid detail the tragedies and triumphs of invisible Americans in their everyday lives. Whether writing about criminal injustice in Tulia, Texas, or worlds at war in Iraq, Herbert brings to bear on his subjects fierce intelligence, no-nonsense reasoning, and unflinching honesty. This book is essential reading for anyone concerned about the state of the American people-and, by extension, of our country-as we plunge headlong into the twenty-first century."
-Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

"Bob Herbert's strong, brilliant voice consistently reminds America of where we still fall short of the ideals of the nation we want to be and can become."
-Marian Wright Edelman

"You will not forget the people in this book. They are people Bob Herbert will not let us forget. His journalism has the power of Dickens to enable us to see life as others experience it. In an era that may one day be known for the tragic meltdown of American journalism, Bob Herbert brings us back to the fundamentals-to what happens to our craft when it is practiced by a man who considers it a calling."
-Bill Moyers

"Bob Herbert is the conscience of a great newspaper, a powerfully compelling and consistent voice for underdogs of all colors, ages, and genders. With Promises Betrayed, you can read him in one big, bracing, highly nutritional dose that will propel you off the couch and into action!"
-Barbara Ehrenreich

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Bob Herbert

  • Bob Herbert has been an op-ed columnist for The New York Times since 1993. He was previously a correspondent for NBC News and a reporter, columnist, and member of the editorial board for the New York Daily News. He has taught journalism at Brooklyn College and at Columbia University, and has won numerous awards for his reporting and commentary. He lives in New York City.
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Available Formats and Book Details

Promises Betrayed

Waking Up from the American Dream

Bob Herbert

  • e-Book

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Times Books

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