Review of Unrig, by Daniel G. Newman, art by George O’Connor


How to Fix Our Broken Democracy

by Daniel G. Newman
art by George O’Connor

First Second, 2020. 282 pages.
Review written November 23, 2020, from a library book
Starred Review

Here’s a book that talks about things that are broken in our democracy, and how we can fix those things. Places where solutions have already been found are highlighted, and there’s a website related to the book,, to help the reader follow up with action.

The book is presented in graphic novel format, which makes the points more clear and easier to digest. It also disguises that this is not a long book, and the reader comes away ready to act.

The book begins by talking about money in politics and the ways some localities have managed to level the playing field so that the voices of ordinary people have as much weight as lobbyists or big corporations. We also learn about how much time our federal representatives spend looking for more cash rather than the work we sent them to Congress to do.

We learn in this book about gerrymandering, voter suppression, and other ways that people in power try to stay in power. Here’s a paragraph that stopped me short, clearly written before the Covid-19 pandemic:

Tellingly, voter ID laws, passed by Republicans, typically exempt voters who use mail-in ballots from having to show ID. This is because mail-in ballots typically favor Republicans, and Republicans have sought to suppress voting only by groups that skew Democratic.

So this book doesn’t address issues that were new for the 2020 election, but it does present many issues about running a democracy that I hadn’t thought a lot about before reading this book. Lest that give the impression that this is a partisan book, let me assure you that it points out flaws in politics from both parties and suggests ways we can unrig the system to make it more of a democracy.

This book doesn’t take long to read, but I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to be a well-informed citizen in our democracy.

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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