Holding Together: The Hijacking of Rights in America and How to Reclaim Them for Everyone

June 1, 2022
Holding Together

An overwhelming majority of Americans agree that rights are essential to their freedom, and that rights today are severely threatened. The promise of rights has been reimagined at pivotal moments in American history — can today become another time of transformation?

The newly released book Holding Together: The Hijacking of Rights in America and How to Reclaim Them for Everyone (New Press, 2022) is about the promise of rights as a source of American identity, the struggle to realize rights by countless Americans to whom the promise has been denied or not fulfilled, the hijacking of rights by politicians who seek power by dividing and polarizing, and the way forward in which rights can bring Americans together instead of tearing them apart.

Drawing on a series of town hall meetings with representative groups of citizens across the country discussing their concerns over rights, new national opinion polls from all demographic groups and political perspectives conducted in 2020 and 2021, and extensive research, Holding Together is a road map for an American rights revival.

Co-authors John Shattuck (former Carr Center Senior Fellow), Sushma Raman (Carr Center Executive Director), and Mathias Risse (Carr Center Faculty Director) present a comprehensive account of the current state of rights in the United States — and concrete recommendations to policymakers and citizens on how to reclaim them.

To learn more and purchase a copy of the book, click here.

From the Authors:

“If we’re talking about defending democracy, building resistance, building voices for change, then we really have to think about local leaders and ways in which to strengthen the infrastructure for civil society in countries where it is under attack." — Sushma Raman

“The sprit of Holding Together and the determination to maintain the political structure regardless of partial interests is the secret for a political entity to continue existing into the future." — Mathias Risse

“Eighty percent of Americans across the political spectrum said that without our rights, America is nothing; rights today are not secure; and Americans have more in common than many think." — John Shattuck

Reviews of Holding Together:

“A spirited defense of the political and civil rights that Americans enjoy—and that are constantly being chipped away.” — Kirkus Reviews

“A powerful account of today’s rights crisis in America… this book helps us imagine a future of rights for everyone.” — Anthony D. Romero, executive director, ACLU

“There is no better book — a blueprint, really — to guide us into and past the potentially fractious decade ahead.” — Arlie Russell Hochschild, author of Strangers in Their Own Land, a finalist for the National Book Award

“The heart of Holding Together is resoundingly hopeful. Shattuck, Raman, and Risse provide a timely call to action for everyone who is concerned with closing the gap between our democratic ideals and what is real.” — Wade Henderson, interim president and CEO, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Read an op-ed by Holding Together co-author John Shattuck in the Boston Globe about the best way to defend democracy here.