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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

Out of Darkness

Essays on Corporate Power and Civic Resistance, 2012-2022

by Ralph Nader


A collection of columns and essays that reveal Ralph Nader at his outspoken and prescient best, fighting the good fight against corporate corruption, unbalanced political power, consumer dangers, big pharma, and climate deniers.

Features an introduction by Lewis Lapham.

This collection is classic Nader—exhorting us to make our world and nation a better place, even when faced with unchecked political and corporate power, and perverse market and regulatory incentives. He starts with the declaration that the national Democratic Party bureaucrats are either inept or bewildered. With its record-setting campaign fundraising, he bemoans how the Party can’t seem to figure out how to go on the offensive against the overtly lying, cruel, corrupt, law-breaking, Wall Street over Main Street, Trumpian Republican Party.

In another essay he praises Canada, explaining that the majority of citizens love their health care system—Medicare-for-all, free choice of doctor and hospital , everybody in, nobody out and far less expensive with better outcomes overall. Highlighting heroes like Pete Seeger, Wendell Berry, the journalist Helen Thomas, Nader also celebrates citizens like the lesser-known charismatic George S. Hawkins, general manager of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority who brought immense energy, vision, and ambitious, overdue plans to the forefront for American’s public drinking water. Meanwhile, he doesn’t shy away from enemies—for example Nader slams the evils of Big Pharma’s strength and hold over Congress and infinite greed.

Nader also brings American history to the present day with creative twists. “We need to remember Ben Franklin, our frugal forebear, who coined the phrase ‘a penny saved is a penny earned,’” he writes. “Today he would say ‘a trillion BTUs saved is a trillion BTUs earned.’” Ranging from hernia repair to auto safety reports and warnings about lethal super-bugs and global pandemics from 2013, Nader’s essays and newspaper columns will inform and activate his legions of fans.


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Born in Connecticut in 1934, RALPH NADER has spent his lifetime challenging corporations and government agencies to be more accountable to the public. His 1965 book Unsafe at Any Speed permanently altered the course of a reckless U.S. automobile industry and made Nader a household name. His lobbying and writing on the food industry helped to ensure that the food we buy is required to pass strict guidelines before reaching the consumer. One of Nader’s greatest achievements was his successful lobbying for a 1974 amendment to the Freedom of Information Act, which gave increased public access to government documents. Over the years he has co-founded the public interest groups Public Citizen, Critical Mass, Commercial Alert, and the Center for the Study of Responsive Law. His 2000 presidential campaign on the Green Party ticket served to broaden the scope of debate on the nation’s priorities. Named by the Atlantic as one of the hundred most influential figures in American history, Nader continues to be a relentless advocate for grassroots activism and democratic change. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Other books by Ralph Nader