Tells the stories of Dellums’s remarkable life and of his political battles, with lessons learned about leadership, politics, and the importance of building coalitions to effect change.
Profound and humane, Lying Down with the Lions ensures Ronald Dellums’s place as one of our most important leaders of the second half of the 20th century. When Dellums arrived in Washington in 1971 to represent Oakland, California, in the House of Representatives, his radical activism had already earned him a place on Nixon’s enemy list. When he retired in 1998—his radicalism still intact—he left a record of accomplishment that has made an indelible mark on our political landscape. From his days as a freshman from California’s 9th Congressional District, to helping to found the Congressional Black Caucus, to being the first African-American to serve on and later chair the House Armed Services Committee, Dellums’s tenure in the House is both a testament to his significant career and a crucible of American politics at the close of the century.
The story of Ronald Dellums’s twenty-seven years in Congress is not just about a wild-eyed radical, a self-described ‘commie pinko Afro-topped bell-bottomed dude from Berkeley’ who earned the love of friends and the respect of enemies. It is about a man who made strategic and deliberate decisions about how and when and for how long to promote his causes, to ignore insult and outlast exclusion, to be a gentleman rather than a firebrand. –Megan Rosenfeld, The Washington Post
“A staunch advocate of the principles of justice and fair play. Ronald Dellums’s book offers current and future generations of activists a compelling and useful blueprint for democratic social change.” –John J. Sweeney, President, AFL-CIO
“For twenty-seven years, no one has personified the struggle for peace with economic and social justice as Ronald Dellums has.” –Gordon Clark, Executive Director, Peace Action
“Whether railing against apartheid in South Africa, covert wars in Asia or Latin America, wasteful military budgets or dehumanizing bureaucratic practices, Dellums elevated the entire proceedings with his soaring speeches from the House floor.” —The Nation
“For twenty-seven years, Dellums established himself as a figure like no one who had served before–an unrepentant radical who took the battle from the streets to the floor of Congress.” –John Nichols, The Progressive