Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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Unanswered Letters to the President, 2001-2015

by Ralph Nader

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In letters addressed to presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Ralph Nader provides incisive critiques of more than a decade of American policy decision and indecision. With his signature dry wit, Nader holds these presidents to their campaign promises. He also boldly points to the ignoble and sometimes heinous decisions made in pursuit of party platforms and misguided policies. Covering a range of topics—the Iraq War, torture, the Crimean annexation, the minimum wage, worker’s health legislation, and corporatism, to name a few—these letters were ignored by the president who received them. Here they are reproduced to reclaim the spirit of a true and healthy democracy.

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Buying options

“For the ordinary citizen the reading of a letter from Ralph Nader is an option; for a president of the United States, it is not.”

“For a half century Ralph Nader has said what he thinks, written what he believes, and told it like it is—even to presidents. Too bad they don’t write back. I’d love to know how they’d explain themselves to Ralph, and to the American people.”

“Another triumphant look into the legendary prowess of Ralph Nader. We can’t count on Washington, but we can always count on Ralph Nader to speak for the rest of us.””

“Ralph Nader is without a doubt the most dedicated, fearless, and intelligent citizen crusader America has ever been fortunate enough to have in our midst. Having spent my own time researching the twentieth-century presidential archives for All the Presidents’ Bankers, including the plethora of two-way letters between the most elite and wealthy American bankers to presidents, it is clear that Ralph’s insight and letters speak on behalf of the vast majority of our nation’s citizens, and theirs do not. It is as shameful of these presidents to ignore his well-reasoned, fact-based, and population-centric letters and comments, as it is heroic of Ralph to produce this compilation that holds their denial and silence to account. Bravo, Ralph!”

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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.