Beyond the Messy Truth

How We Came Apart,
How We Come Together

  • Share

Copy and paste the below script into your own website or blog to embed this book.

Now available in paperback!

A passionate manifesto that exposes hypocrisy on both sides of the political divide and points a way out of the tribalism that is tearing America apart—by the CNN political contributor and host hailed as “a star of the 2016 campaign” (The New York Times) who coined the term  “whitelash.”

Van Jones burst into the American consciousness during the 2016 presidential campaign with an unscripted, truth-telling style and an already established history of bridge-building across party lines. His election night commentary became a viral sensation. A longtime progressive activist with deep roots in the conservative South, Jones has made it his mission to challenge voters and viewers to stand in one another’s shoes and disagree constructively.

Now, in Beyond the Messy Truth, Jones offers a blueprint for transforming our collective anxiety into meaningful change. Tough on Donald Trump but showing respect and empathy for his supporters, Jones takes aim at the failures of both parties before and after Trump’s victory. He urges both sides to abandon the politics of accusation and focus on real solutions. Calling us to a deeper patriotism, he shows us how to get down to the vital business of solving, together, some of our toughest problems.

“The entire national conversation today can be reduced to a simple statement—‘I’m right, and you’re wrong,’” Jones has said. But the truth is messier; both sides have flaws. Both parties have strayed from their highest principles and let down their core constituencies. Rejecting today’s political tribalism, Jones issues a stirring call for a new “bipartisanship from below.” Recognizing that tough challenges require the best wisdom from both liberals and conservatives, he points us toward practical answers to problems that affect us all regardless of region or ideology: rural and inner-city poverty, unemployment, addiction, unfair incarceration, and the devastating effects of the pollution-based economy on both coal country and our urban centers.

In explaining how he arrived at his views, Jones shares behind-the-scenes memories from his decades spent marching and protesting on behalf of working people, inspiring stories of ordinary citizens who became champions of their communities, and little-known examples of cooperation that have risen from the fog of partisan conflict. In his quest for positive solutions, Van Jones encourages us to set fire to our old ways of thinking about politics and come together where the pain is greatest.

Upcoming Book Events

Keep checking back for upcoming events!

Praise for Beyond the Messy Truth

“Part manifesto, part manual for activism, Beyond the Messy Truth is enlivened by case histories and personal anecdotes that serve as support for the author’s assertions. . . . The author proposes common projects that may bring opposing sides together: fixing the justice system, ending the opioid addiction crisis, opening up the technology sector to all, and transitioning to a greener economy. . . . Pragmatic, optimistic proposals for an informed and active electorate . . . [with] concrete suggestions to revive democracy, heal culture wars, and prevent a Trump victory in 2020.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Agree or disagree with him, Van Jones’s voice has become an integral part of our national political debate. He is one of the most provocative and interesting political figures in the country.”
—Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator, Vermont

“If I say I’m actually friends with Van Jones, will that cause conservatives to read this book or just cause progressives not to? I hope they all read it—I disagree with Van on just about everything, but I respect him for being authentic in his convictions and for having the ability to articulate them forcefully, but fairly. As for his views, I’m still working on him!”
—Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas and Republican Presidential Candidate

“We should all be listening to Van Jones, because of how deeply he’s been listening to all kinds of people who are hurting in America. The truth can be hard to hear, but his brilliant analysis and inspiring vision make it all worthwhile. His vision for American politics calls forward the best of who we are, so that we can engage with humanity and solve real problems together.”
—Ai-Jen Poo, Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance and co-director, Caring Across Generations

“One of the major problems in today’s political climate is an inability and unwillingness to listen, not just to those who share your point of view but those who don’t. Van’s willingness and interest in speaking with, and not to, those who may not traditionally hold his political and cultural point of view is on full display in Beyond the Messy Truth. In an age when hardworking families across America are feeling left behind by their politicians in Washington and the power structures along the coasts, Van’s commitment to letting other voices be heard is much needed in today’s discourse.”
—Rick Santorum, Former Senator of Pennsylvania and Republican Presidential Candidate

“Those of us who truly believe in the power of love and aloha welcome Beyond the Messy Truth with open arms, with the hope that it will be read by those from all parts of the country and all points of the political spectrum. This will help start conversations and bring people together to find common ground and work toward a better America.”
—Tulsi Gabbard, Congresswoman, representing Hawaii

“My friend and colleague Van Jones is a conservative-in-the-making. OK, maybe not! Van is a true-blue progressive, and what you will find in these pages is the work of one of the most thoughtful—and honest—progressives on the American political scene. We disagree, and our debates can get, well, messy. But every so often, we find a place of agreement and cause to celebrate. The great battle of ideas is a bedrock of our democracy—and there is no one better at this than Van Jones.”
—Jeffrey Lord, political strategist and former CNN commentator

Van Jones is a CNN political contributor and host of the recurring CNN primetime special The Messy Truth with Van Jones. A graduate of the University of Tennessee and Yale Law School, he was a special adviser to the Obama White House and is the author of two New York Times bestsellers. Jones founded the social justice accelerator the Dream Corps and has led numerous social and environmental justice enterprises, including the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change, and Green For All. He has earned many honors, including the World Economic Forum’s “Young Global Leader” designation and a Webby Special Achievement Award, and he has been named one of Rolling Stone’s 12 Leaders Who Get Things Done, Fast Company’s 12 Most Creative Minds on Earth, and Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. He lives with his wife and two children in the Los Angeles area.

Beyond the Messy Truth

How We Came Apart,
How We Come Together


Beyond the Messy Truth

— Published by Ballantine Books —