America, We Need to Talk, a “How to” Book for a Progressive Resurgence, Goes on Sale February 21

by Michael Boucher

World’s First “Public Policy Self-Help Book” Parodies Relationship Books, Explains Trump’s Rise, & Proposes Innovative but Achievable Solutions to America’s Most Vexing Problems

America, We Need to Talk, a “How to” Book for a Progressive Resurgence, Goes on Sale February 21

Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison Calls Book “Both Important and Entertaining”

Starting with the premise that the important relationship Americans have is with their nation, Joel Berg’s second book, America We Need to Talk: A Self-Help Book for the Nation, makes a case for how we must both stop blaming the nation’s problems solely on “the politicians” or “the system” and take personal responsibility to solve them. The book, published by Seven Stories Press (which also published Berg’s first book All You Can Eat: How Hungry is America?) goes on sale February 21 and is available for pre-sale now. It has already received acclaim from high-profile Americans such as Toni Morrison and Tom Colicchio.

Written as both a hilarious parody of relationship and self-help books and a deadly serious analysis of the nation's political and economic dysfunction, the book utilizes both snappy text and eye-catching infographics to dissect how Donald Trump and other Republicans won over white, working-class voters, and includes a concrete plan to win them back, as well as a broader roadmap for reducing poverty, bolstering the middle class, and powering an overall progressive resurgence.

As an acclaimed author noted for his humor, a frequent voice in the national media, and the outspoken CEO of the nonprofit group Hunger Free America, Joel Berg is a nationally and internationally recognized expert on hunger, US politics, poverty, community development, and food. Berg calls his book the world’s first “public policy self-help book.” It combines a biting critique of today’s America with clear-headed prescriptions that show how average Joes and Janes can channel their anger at our hobbled government into concrete actions that will fix our democracy, make our economy work for everyone, and restore our stature in the world as a beacon of freedom, diversity, and hope. It includes an innovative plan to build a “Responsibility for All America,” including specific ideas for radically overhauling anti-poverty programs with modern technology and helping Americans pay for college by performing national service.

Said Berg, “The American people are in it for the long haul, and, as in all relationships, both sides must recognize their issues and work together to fix them. This book will do more than offer comfort for sobbing progressives—it will show the path to redemption. It is specifically designed to be a ‘how to book’ for how every American can take concrete, practical actions to reclaim America for sanity.”

Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison wrote: “This book is both important and entertaining. We need both -- I've never seen the political world so sad, so foolish. So dangerous. This book will certainly help.” Tom Colicchio, chef, TV judge, and activist said the book is: “A timely take-no-prisoners argument for sane and humane policies by the master truth-teller, Joel Berg. Been wondering how we can really make America great again? Read this book.”  Filmmaker and activist Lori Silverbush said: “Fearless and compulsively readable, America, We Need to Talk will make you laugh, think, and snort coffee through your nose. Joel Berg is that irascible uncle who speaks the unmentionable truth at family dinners. You may squirm, but secretly you’re glad he’s there.” Said Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA): “Joel Berg has done it again with another book to challenge policy makers and Americans to think boldly and creatively about how to solve some of the biggest issues facing our nation. Joel won’t rest until we end hunger and poverty once and for all. And, quite frankly, we need more people like him.” “Joel Berg puts America on the couch for some tough-love therapy, said Will Marshall, President of the Progressive Policy Institute. “It’s a witty, acerbic and passionate unraveling of our country’s twisted feelings about race, poverty and social responsibility.”

Labeled “Mister Frowny Pants” by The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (on which he once appeared), Joel Berg is the CEO of Hunger Free America, which the Nation called “one of the leading direct service and advocacy organizations on hunger and poverty in the nation.”

Playboy (which Berg reads only for the reviews) called Berg’s first book “refreshing” for its “optimism …rationality and passion.” Berg has also published numerous op-eds, poems, and policy papers and was a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress as well as a Policy Analyst at the Progressive Policy Institute, two DC-based think tanks.

Berg has delivered hundreds of keynote speeches on four continents and in 37 states, from Maine to Alaska, while surviving moose attacks and volcanic eruptions. One audience member wrote, “Seeing Joel Berg speak in person is like watching the History Channel, C-Span, and Comedy Central all at once.”

Noted by City Limits magazine for his “trademark good-natured snarkiness,” Berg has been covered extensively by national and international media, appearing on Hardball with Chris Matthews, Fox News, CNN, National Public Radio, The Kudlow Report, All in with Chris Hayes, and the NBC Evening News, and quoted by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and tons of obscure blogs. Berg has also been featured in three documentary films.

Prior to joining Hunger Free America, Berg worked for eight years in senior executive service positions in Bill Clinton’s presidential administration at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, served on the Clinton/Gore Presidential Transition Team, and staffed the 1992 Bill Clinton for President campaign. While working for 13 years as a political campaign professional, Berg lived in Kansas, Alaska, New Jersey, Maine, Arkansas, and New York. He now resides in Brooklyn, New York but has yet to overdose on local, artisanal kale chips

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Accredited journalists can obtain a review copy of the book and/or interview Joel Berg by contacting Magen Allen, Mallen@hungerfreeamerica.org; (212) 825-0028, ext. 212; (509) 741-9845 (cell)

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