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Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America

4.56  ·  Rating details ·  2,147 ratings  ·  359 reviews
Although it has been decades since the historic social upheavals of the 1960s, Americans continue to look to the Civil Rights Movement as the apotheosis of political expression. With an engaged electorate once again confronting questions of social inequality, there's no better time to revisit the lessons of the '60s and no better leader to learn from than Congressman John ...more
Hardcover, 180 pages
Published May 15th 2012 by Hachette Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Elyse  Walters
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Audiobook by Keith David

John Lewis died just a few days ago --July 17th, 2020.
Watching the news over the week-end --so many powerful old historical clips of him either fighting for voting rights, desegregation in housing, efforts to curb disproportionate use of police brutality against Black America, and his actions to end legalized racial segregation in the United States, I felt inspired to read this book.

While listening to this book -- I felt an urgency to take in his words as if m
With the passing of this hero of the Civil Rights movement and “Conscience of the Congress” I think many could benefit from this memoir and extended essay. The audiobook version I listened to 5 months ago is particularly suited for those who need solace from the current strife and inspiration that change is possible in the midst of the current polarized politics and emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement on the world stage.

I appreciated the story of how he evolved from a poor sharecropper’
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An inspiring read for anyone seeking to bring justice, peace and love to the world.
Collin Shea
Jun 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved this book (read it in one sitting) and as Douglas Brinkley says in his foreward “every young person should read this homily on civility”. I would take that a step further and say that every voting individual should read this book.

This is a short book that packs a powerful punch regarding how to effect non-violent social transformation in the world (faith; patience; study; truth; peace; love; reconciliation).

John Lewis’ life experience and his commitment to continue to strive for an almos
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is primer on activism using Lewis’ life and the civil rights movement as examples. It is thought provoking and an excellent summary of the most basic principles of non-violence. Best of all, it’s realistic. Lewis is no pie-in-the-sky hippie. He’s a national treasure and we need to hear more from him.
Jessica Woodbury
A self-help book for activists, specifically focusing on the values necessary to make change. While some of this felt just like what you'd expect (and have probably heard before) there were many moments where I found new insight, specifically when it came to the mindset of the activists in the civil rights movement. Lewis talks in detail about how he was able, mentally and emotionally, to put himself into situations over and over where he faced hatred, incarceration, and violence. There is defin ...more
Feb 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: be-the-change
Courageous, hopeful and inspiring civil rights leader John Lewis is one of my heroes. I love how devoted he was and is to nonviolent social change, how he continues to live the dream that many gave up on in the late 1960s, and his support of current civil rights issues of gay rights and educational equality. As I loved his autobiography Walking with the Wind, I was thrilled when my wonderful sister told me about this book and gave me a copy. (Thanks Laura!) In beautiful prose that sounds like yo ...more
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful book. After reading this, Civil Rights leader and Congressman John Lewis is one of my new heroes. I recommend this book to anyone who cares about truth, goodness and working for justice. So much wisdom, but a couple of my favorite quotes:
"Ours is the struggle of a lifetime, or maybe even many lifetimes, and each one of us in every generation must do our part. And if we believe in the change we seek, then it is easy to commit to doing all we can, because the responsibility is ours alo
Carol E.
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle-books
In this jewel of a book, Rep. Lewis presents several categories which he suggests should be mastered in order to bring about meaningful change - to light the fire of a movement. All of these aspects were put into action in the Civil Rights movement in which Mr. Lewis played such an important role. The aspects include faith, patience, study, truth, love, and reconciliation. I learned so much about the Civil Rights movement, and what's more, the lessons he provides are timely today for the desire ...more
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
These inspirational essays describe the virtues and moral qualities that empowered the author in his fight against the injustices that denied equal rights and opportunities to African-American citizens of the United States. They explain how he was able to face down violence and respond in a non-violent manner to people who thought he was their enemy, and later offer his opponents love and reconciliation.

They are still relevant today in a time when one is seeking to oppose authoritarian leaders a
Jan 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
If there was ever a book I needed at a certain time, it was this one. The subtitle says it all: Across That Bridge is a slim volume of six short essays, each on a particular theme (faith, patience, study, truth, peace, love) and presenting lessons from the civil rights movement that can be used to guide civic engagement today. Probably the most important lesson for me was the one on patience, and the idea that one should not despair in the short term but keep one's "eyes on the prize" and the ul ...more
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was one of the most profound, intelligent, thought provoking works I have ever read. It challenged me to think of how I view the political & moral climate & how I choose to react. Every page is filled with lines that are quotable. John Lewis is an amazing human being, a true leader & has an unbelievable outlook on life today in America & the world which I find even more incredible because of the things he has lived through & endured. Truly an incredible experience reading this book. I ...more
Geoffrey Bateman
Sep 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I just re-read this book for a class I'm teaching this semester on the history, philosophy, and practice of nonviolence. It's a smaller book, broken up into sections on foundational lessons from Lewis's life, like "Faith," "Patience," "Peace," and "Love." Each one reflects on these major lessons, providing both an inspiring introduction to a particular aspect of nonviolence and short anecdotes from Lewis's own life. These are perhaps the most powerful, for Lewis's generosity of spirit and commit ...more
Emma Charles
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I have always admired John Lewis. This summer, at St. Paul's ASP, I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to learn more about him and his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. However, Lewis' involvement in the fight for social justice did not end after the 50s and 60s. This short book is Lewis' guide for the young activists in the world today. As I hope to pursue a career in politics and/or the legal system, I can see myself coming back to this book many times throughout my life. I of ...more
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Across that Bridge is beautiful and inspiring book. Congressman Lewis' book is comprised of three essays on faith, patience, and peace. This book provides tremendous insight on how to have a more fulfilling life. Also, Congressman Lewis writes about his experience of being beaten, and his incarceration. I highly recommend this book to readers who want to develop more meaning in their lives, advocates of social justice, or those who love to read about history. Additionally, Congressman Lewis' boo ...more
May 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
From Page 164, "Perhaps the variations in appearance and expression that seem to occupy so much of our concern--tall, short, black, brown, straight hair or curly, white or yellow, fat or slender, gay or straight--are more an expression of the broad imagination of the Creator than they are an indication of our value or worth."
This book is an exploration of the strategy used to fight racism during the Civil Rights Movement of the 60's. It's radical idea of responding to violence and hate with sim
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A book from 2012 that is so appropriate at this time in our country. I struggle with the current political situation, increasing prejudice and decreased concern for the retired, middle class and those who need help with addiction, housing, adequate nutrition and medical care. He shares about his life and his experiences during the Civil Rights movement. The book outlines a process for peaceful protest. The sections are titled: faith, patience, study, act, peace, love and reconciliation. Reading ...more
May 14, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The late John Lewis offers his thoughts on social activism in this short book. Speaking from his own experiences in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Lewis provides guidance for the activists of today and tomorrow. A contrast is called to mind between the aimless rioting and looting seen in present day, and the studied, planned, non-violent approaches of the earlier era, that led to an end of segregation and other injustices in the American South. Lewis makes frequent references to example ...more
Michael Loveless
I have tremendous respect for John Lewis as a man of courage, principle, and action so it pains me to give him a mediocre rating. Across That Bridge is worth reading for most Americans because it shines a light on an extremely important era in American history. One thing I enjoyed in the book was all of the small biographical details about leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. The part of the book I liked best was Lewis's thorough explanation of the philosophy of the non-violent movement. I have ...more
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lewis's Vision for Change" is outstanding. The insight portrayed, and depiction that, "education is the most important tool to institute this change" was amplified during Lewis's marches with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, as well as Lewis ministry.
As Lewis represented the U.S. Minorities in the Congress, he worked on the premise that monies spent om defense would benefit more by improve infra-structure, homelessness, education, job opportunities, etc making America better from the inside out.
Christina Mitchell
Aug 25, 2013 rated it liked it
The book was meant to be inspiring, and it very much is inspiring. Reading this on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington was fitting. So many gave so much that seems to have been forgotten. We need reminded. My favorite part was relating the connection between Mrs. Rosa Parks and Myles Horton's Highlander School, and Highlander's prominent role in instructing demonstrators in nonviolent civil action. Not many know of Highlander, or of their contribution to the Civil Rights Movement. So ...more
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, e-books
I deliberately took my time reading this important memoir. Each chapter/essay dealt with a theme of peaceful resistance via a particular concept: love, peace, unity, etc. And coming as it does from a civil rights hero like John Lewis, this is important information for our own time.

We are living in a time when peaceful resistance is the only way to stand up against the tyranny that has come to live in the Executive Office; Lewis has a number of great recommendations from which we can all benefit.
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
similar to the Dalai Lama, here is a man I would be interested in just being in his presence as he goes about daily activities and meetings, just to witness interactions with others. Like the DL I get that feeling of peace reading Lewis's words, and wonder what it would have been like to be around MLK Jr. and the others that Lewis mentions as being his inspirations and teachers. I can't imagine that you wouldn't get a sense of that presence and quiet charisma, just being around them. ...more
Linda Barton
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must read. It’s not a primer for non-violent change but rather a pathway to change. It chronicles Lewis’ activities in the civil rights movement but as much is a poetic proponent for non-violent change activity. Rooted in the teachings of Ghandi, Kennedy, King, Mandela and other champions of non-violent activism, this book reads like a beautiful melody. I so highly recommend this book.
Mar 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Love in action. The triumph of truth. The secrets of non-violence to overcome the illusions of superiority and false righteousness. A must read for those in the struggle today for equality and fairness. A short book with the wisdom of a prophet and the compassion of one who has sacrificed all for the cause of peace and justice. You will only be richer spiritually for having read it.
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book for what is has to say about bringing truth and peace to America, and the world. I found myself agreeing on much of what Rep. Lewis wrote, and I so want many others to read his vision for how to make our future better. We need to live the truth...and we need to set the right example. It takes time but it can be done. A very uplifting book.
Oct 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A little slow in parts, but I consider this a must read. There is no discounting the life experience of John Lewis. The Civil Rights Movement is a part of our history, and John Lewis played a big part of helping us get to where we are today.
Carol Brusegar
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Inspirational words from one of the icons of the Civil Rights Movement, now a Congressman for many years! John Lewis has the perspective of years of involvement and a heart of love and justice. His vision for the future is powerful and magnetic.
Bill DeGenaro
Aug 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
JL's life dedicated to civil rights is an inspiration. After reading his graphic novels, wanted to know more about his philosophy and this book didn't disappoint. It's his ability to forgive that I can't get out of my head. Also his FOCUS on peaceful protest as a worldview. Recommended... ...more
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A work of love

An excellent testimony to the transformative power love, manifested through peaceful resistance, can have in the lives of both the aggressor and the oppressed and how this power can ultimately transform not only a community, but eventually the whole world.
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Play Book Tag: Across That Bridge - Lewis - 5 stars 2 12 Aug 01, 2020 01:04AM  

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John Robert Lewis was the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 5th congressional district, serving since 1987 and was the dean of the Georgia congressional delegation. He was a leader in the American Civil Rights Movement and chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), playing a key role in the struggle to end segregation. He was a member of the Democratic Party and was one of t ...more

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