We Do Our Part

Toward a Fairer and More Equal America

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Charles Peters explores American politics and civic life since the New Deal in a book filled with “vivid, funny, often touching anecdotes” (James Fallows, The Atlantic).

“We Do Our Part” was the slogan of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s National Recovery Administration—and it captured the can-do spirit that allowed America to survive the Great Depression and win World War II. Over the course of a sixty-year career as a Washington, D.C., journalist and historian, Peters, the founder of the Washington Monthly, has witnessed drastic changes firsthand. Ranging from the history of lobbying to the explosion of high-end fashion and travel reporting, this surprising book explains how we can consolidate the gains we have made while recapturing the generous spirit we have lost.

We Do Our Part is entertaining, insightful, and engaging. Spanning decades of politics and culture, Peters compares the flood of talented, original thinkers who flowed into the nation’s capital to join FDR’s administration with the tide of self-serving government staffers who left to exploit their opportunities on Wall Street and as lobbyists from the 1970s to today. During the same period, the economic divide between rich and poor grew, as we shifted from a culture of generosity to one of personal aggrandizement. With the wisdom of a prophet and the wit of a great storyteller, Peters connects these two trends by showing how this money-fueled elitism has diminished our trust in one another and our nation—and changed Washington for the worse.

If liberal Democrats—and Peters is one—want to win again, they need to be fair to everyone, including the working man who was once essential to the party of FDR. We Do Our Part shows us where we have been and where we are going, drawn from the invaluable perspective of a man who has seen America’s better days and still believes in the promise that lies ahead.

Praise for We Do Our Part

“A great book about modern American history.”—Chris Matthews, Hardball

We Do Our Part is not directly about the Trump era or phenomenon, though Charlie gets to Trump at the end. But it is all about the resentful, unequal, uncaring parts of today’s American culture that Trump has inflamed and that have made Trump possible—and how to cope with them.”—James Fallows, The Atlantic

“An important book on the central issue facing our country . . . The truth [Charles] Peters aims to impart in this book is one that all Americans, and especially liberals, need to understand: An America in which the elite serves the interests of the majority isn’t a pipe dream.”Washington Monthly

“A thoughtful, well-reasoned argument for American citizens to pull back from political brinksmanship and embrace the values of the Roosevelt era.”Kirkus Reviews

“A wise and brilliant book by a wise and brilliant man . . . Charlie Peters loves this country deeply, and this book is packed with insights on how we can make America more just, more civil, and, well, great. Everyone should read it.”—Nicholas Thompson, editor, newyorker.com

“Peters, who remembers the New Deal as an indelible personal experience, has given us a deeply moving, and also deeply troubling, account of how we got from the national political culture he knew when he was young to the one we have today. This is a book about the past that makes it possible for us to imagine a better future: one in which public service regains its rightful place of highest purpose in American society.”—Nicholas Lemann, dean emeritus, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

We Do Our Part

Toward a Fairer and More Equal America

Buy

We Do Our Part

— Published by Random House —