The Forerunner: A Story of Pain and Perseverance in America (Hardcover)
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From one of America's most transformative politicians and activists, a powerful and inspiring memoir that sheds light on a harrowing personal journey and reveals how urgently we need our political leadership to prioritize meeting the needs of our most marginalized communities.
"Piercing and gripping... Bush’s words are beautifully devastating." —The Cut
Having worked as a nurse, a pastor, and a community organizer in St. Louis, Missouri, Cori Bush hadn’t initially intended to run for political office. But when protests in Ferguson erupted in 2014, Bush found herself on the frontlines, providing medical care and protesting violence against Black lives. Encouraged by community leaders to run for office, and compelled by an urgency to prevent her children and others from becoming social media hashtags, Bush campaigned persistently while navigating myriad personal challenges—and ultimately rose to unseat a twenty-year incumbent to become the first Black woman to represent her state in Congress.
The Forerunner is the raw and moving account of a politician and activist whose life experiences, though underrepresented in the halls of Congress, reflect some of the same realities and struggles that many Americans face in their everyday lives. Courageously laying bare her experience as a minimum-wage worker, a survivor of domestic and sexual violence, and an unhoused parent, Congresswoman Bush embodies a new chapter in progressive politics that prioritizes the lives and stories of those most politically vulnerable at the core of its agenda. A testament to the lasting legacy of the Ferguson Uprising and an unflinching examination of how the American political system is so deeply intertwined with systemic injustice, The Forerunner is profoundly relatable and inspiring at its heart. At once a stirring and emotionally wrought personal account and a fierce call to action, this is political memoir the likes of which we’ve never seen before.
About the Author
CORI BUSH is a registered nurse, a community activist and organizer, a single mother, and an ordained pastor. She is serving her first term as the St. Louis Congresswoman. Bush is the first Black woman and first nurse to represent Missouri; the first woman to represent Missouri’s First Congressional District; and the first activist from the movement fighting for Black lives elected to Congress.
“Essential reading. . . . Bush emerged not only a survivor but a champion for women’s rights and her community’s fiercest advocate.”
—Oprah Daily, “10 Must-Read Political Books to Get You Through the 2022 Mid-Term Elections”
“Bracingly, sometimes painfully honest. . . . The Forerunner is not your typical political memoir. [Bush] is not your typical politician. . . . [an] embodiment of resilience.”
“Riveting . . . Truly remarkable . . . [An] incredibly brave book.”
—Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!
“I’d recommend that anyone pick it up who is interested in seeing what effective working-class progressive politics looks like. . . . If we want to see how Democrats can effectively connect to working people, Bush’s message is a very useful model. . . . Let us hope she is indeed the forerunner of a new kind of progressive politics.”
—Nathan Robinson, Current Affairs
“Go and get it. It will knock you out.”
—Whoopi Goldberg, The View
“Nuanced. . . Intimate. . . Painfully honest . . . ”
—Trevor Noah, The Daily Show
“A nontraditional lawmaker…. Seamlessly connects her struggles, which are the struggles of so many, to what she’s reaching to achieve legislatively.”
“Cori Bush has lived a lot of life. . . Representative Bush is frank and open about all of it.”
—Alison Stewart, “All of It,” WNYC
“I was deeply moved by [this] book. And I think everyone who decides to form an opinion about Cori Bush needs to do so after reading this book and understanding [Bush’s] experiences.”
—Margaret Hoover, Firing Line
“Cori Bush is a fighter. She writes about how she has overcome a great number of challenges . . . only to emerge stronger. “
—Joy Reid, The ReidOut
"Piercing and gripping. . . . In The Forerunner [Bush] is even more vulnerable, revealing the bad, ugly, mad parts of her life . . . Bush’s words are beautifully devastating.”
“Congresswoman Cori Bush is a role model and inspiration for overcoming almost unimaginable obstacles . . . Powerful . . . One of America’s most transformative politicians and activists.”
“Markedly different from most political memoirs . . . Bush's memoir is also a tale of toughness, but it involves domestic trauma, lack of health care, minimum wage and police violence. Her battles are closer to home, and more prevalent, than distant military theaters.”
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Among the dark details, there is light . . . Bush conveys passion for the people around her and those she serves . . . Whether supporters, critics, or those just interested in a gripping political memoir, readers of The Forerunner can expect a story that goes well beyond the national headlines.”
—St. Louis Magazine
“Cori Bush has always had a story to tell, and she's never shied away from telling it. . . . A ray of light for women who've lived through similar tribulations.”
“Unflinching in her honesty and unapologetic in her dedication, Bush is a rising politician of invaluable experience, knowledge, compassion, and conscience. Congresswoman Bush’s gripping memoir will be all over media, inspiring readers to read it for themselves.”
“[A] story of resilience and political triumph . . . Remarkably candid . . . A frank, powerful account.”