Become America: Civic Sermons on Love, Responsibility, and Democracy (Hardcover)

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Eric Liu’s “civic sermons,” originally given through his organization, Citizen University, are collected in this great book about the importance of civics to all citizens. The book’s title, Become America, carries multiple meanings: an active process for the nation itself and a call for citizens to embody the ideals of America. Liu has a decidedly progressive perspective, but he is not averse to engaging with individuals with opposing political views. Become America reminds us that to be a living entity and worthy of the word, our democracy requires citizen participation beyond voting. -Greg

— From Summer Booknotes 2019


What does it mean to be an engaged American in today’s divided political landscape, and how do we restore hope in our country? In a collection of “civic sermons” delivered at gatherings around the nation, popular advocate for active citizenship Eric Liu takes on these thorny questions and provides inspiration and solace in a time of anger, fear, and dismay over the state of the Union.

Here are 19 stirring explorations of current and timeless topics about democracy, liberty, equal justice, and powerful citizenship. This book will energize you to get involved, in ways both large and small, to help rebuild a country that you’re proud to call home. Become America will challenge you to rehumanize our politics and rekindle a spirit of love in civic life.

About the Author

Eric Liu is the co-founder and CEO of Citizen University and executive director of the Aspen Institute Citizenship and American Identity Program. His books include You're More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen's Guide to Making Change Happen and The Gardens of Democracy. Eric served as a White House speechwriter and policy advisor for President Bill Clinton. He is a correspondent for and his TED Talks on citizen power and voting have been viewed nearly 3 million times. Follow him at @ericpliu.

Praise For…

A New York Times Book Review New and Noteworthy Book

“Eric Liu writes with deep patriotism and bracing candor about history and our own hearts. This powerful book will remind Americans how to live like citizens capable of keeping a republic. It’s a very needed book for our times and an inspirational one as well.” 
—Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs

“[This] collection is like a penetrating time-lapse movie of the American mind...[Liu's] great contribution is to show how to mix conviction on racial matters with humility and gentleness. Moreover, he is always pushing toward an American creed that moves beyond both the white monoculture and the fracturing multiculturalism. He is always pushing toward a national story large enough to contain all the hybrid voices.”
—David Brooks, The New York Times

“Through programs, events, and writings at Citizen University, [Eric Liu] has over the past decade-plus advanced a theory and practice of modern citizenship, which is directly addressed against the despair and cynicism that are such natural reactions to today’s cruelties and crises. The conceptually most important part of Liu’s new book [Become America] is its forthright argument that active citizenship should be a civic religion...Many of the sermons [within] address specifics of how to convert a hazy concern about civic engagement to feasible to-do goals for the next day or week or year.”
—The Atlantic

“This inspirational guide will speak to readers looking for encouragement and a path to meaningful civic engagement.” 
—Publishers Weekly

“With great generosity and hope, Become America calls forward our history to point to our expansive potential as civic beings. This is a work of tremendous grace, love, and reach as it crosses boundaries to illuminate our shared humanity.”
—Claudia Rankine, author of Citizen: An American Lyric

“Eric Liu has a rare gift for decoding the texts and subtexts of our politics and history. Become America is a wise, deep, and beautifully written look at the American civic soul.”
—Henry Louis Gates Jr., Harvard professor and host of Finding Your Roots on PBS  

“America has never needed its civic creed more than now: a set of texts, myths, and memories that call us to our highest selves even as they reveal the gaps between aspirations and realities. Become America is a powerful call to both introspection and action and a wise set of meditations reflecting the full diversity of what America can be. Read it and pass it on!”
—Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO, New America

“This collection of essays exhorts Americans to love the nation they have by becoming the nation they want. Liu, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Citizenship and American Identity Program, argues that our polarized, inequitable, dysfunctional polity needs 'civic religion': a collective change of heart, mind and habit.”
—The Washington Post

“There is a fundamental decency at the core of the sermons, an impulse to call us to our best selves, both individually and collectively. But there is no mushy cry for civility or plaintive whimper of “why can’t we all just get along?” In fact, the steely spine of Liu’s stance is a reminder that though we are a country of high ideals, we are most certainly not a country that has ever lived up to them...What a relief it is to find a voice laced with such clarity.”
—Los Angeles Review of Books

“At a time of political unrest, one group is hoping to rekindle people’s faith in the power they hold as ordinary citizens.”

“[T]here has been, across the country, a disinvestment in civic education, which is why [Eric] Liu started Citizen University, a program that travels the country teaching people of all ages the lost art of civics.”
CBS Sunday Morning

“Partisan bickering, meet fellowship and belonging, the Eric Liu way.” 

“[An] important book.” 
—Dana Milbank, The Washington Post
Product Details
ISBN: 9781632172570
ISBN-10: 1632172577
Publisher: Sasquatch Books
Publication Date: May 14th, 2019
Pages: 320