• Man of Tomorrow

  • The Relentless Life of Jerry Brown
  • By: Jim Newton
  • Narrated by: Jim Newton
  • Length: 12 hrs and 49 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (31 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Visionary. Iconoclast. Political survivor. "A powerful and entertaining look" (Governor Gavin Newsom) at the extraordinary life and political career of Governor Jerry Brown.

Jerry Brown is no ordinary politician. Like his state, he is eclectic, brilliant, unpredictable, and sometimes weird. And, as with so much that California invents and exports, Brown's life story reveals a great deal about this country. 

With the exclusive cooperation of Governor Brown himself, Jim Newton has written the definitive account of Jerry Brown's life. The son of Pat Brown, who served as governor of California through the 1960s, Jerry would extend and also radically alter the legacy of his father through his own service in the governor's mansion. As governor, first in the 1970s and then again 28 years later in his remarkable return to power, Jerry Brown would propound an alternative menu of American values: the restoration of the California economy while balancing the state budget, leadership in the international campaign to combat climate change, and the aggressive defense of California's immigrants, no matter by which route they arrived. It was a blend of compassion, farsightedness, and pragmatism that the nation would be wise to consider.

The story of Jerry Brown's life is in many ways the story of California and how it became the largest economy in the United States. Man of Tomorrow traces the blueprint of Jerry Brown's offbeat risk-taking: equal parts fiscal conservatism and social progressivism. Jim Newton also reveals another side of Jerry Brown, the once-promising presidential candidate whose defeat on the national stage did nothing to diminish the scale of his political, intellectual, and spiritual ambitions. 

To the same degree that California represents the future of America, Jim Newton's account of Jerry Brown's life offers a new way of understanding how politics works today and how it could work in the future.

©2020 Jim Newton (P)2020 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"A quirky, brilliant iconoclast, Jerry Brown led California twice-four decades apart. Newton's engrossing retelling of Brown's remarkable career and the history he lived and shaped is a must read for students of politics!" (David Axelrod, author of Believer: My Forty Years in Politic)

"It's more than just a biography of the man; Newton believes Brown's career in California shows how politics works now and how it could work in the future, with Brown's signature blend of pragmatism and compassion." (Napa Valley Register)

"This is a powerful and entertaining look at California's one and only Jerry Brown. Newton gives the definitive account of Jerry's life and of the times and state that produced him. Man of Tomorrow is an important contribution to the history of California and the nation - and an especially important one today." (Governor Gavin Newsom)

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  • Overall
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Imminently Readable, if not wholly insightful

Jim Newton's unabashedly adoring biography of 4-time California Governor Jerry Brown is a top-line overview of the politicians' professional career juxtaposed against the history of California (and to some extent the entire country) during the same period of time. The book doesn't take very many deep dives; his descriptions of Brown's 3 bids for the Presidency are more anecdotal than insightful and Newton spends more time on Kathleen Brown's brief sojourn into pubic life than he does Jerry's woebegone attempt to win a Senate seat. Newton writes this book from the left and makes no apologies for displaying his clear respect for Brown both politically and intellectually. Because of that, the book is light on critical analysis of Brown. While long passages are spent lauding (deservedly so) Brown's leadership on climate change as well as a somewhat tunnel-visioned reflection of California's economic rebound during his second stint in office, the devastating homelessness crisis in the state that exploded largely on Brown's watch is given not much more than a cursory acknowledgement towards the very end of the book. Still, I too am a Brown fan and even volunteered on his 1992 campaign for the Presidency as a college student and I enjoyed the book. Newton is a fine writer and while at times the book lacks depth, it's that same snappiness that makes the book imminently readable and always interesting. I don't know if there will be another Jerry Brown biography - Newton's insistence that Brown's legacy (a word he goes at pains to show that Brown doesn't care about) has a significance beyond California's borders is not untrue but probably overblown - you can say that it's very possible no single individual has been more vital to California's history over the past 50 years than Jerry Brown. Newton's book serves as an entertaining and well-written overview of these times and the man who was shaped by and helped shape them.

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Well written, inciteful and well read by the author. Highly recommend

Well written, inciteful and well read by the author. A real trip through all the events and politics I lived through in the Bay Area. Thankful we had Jerry Brown - and that’s coming from a conservative Republican.

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Must read

This book does a great job of giving the ready political history and hope. Browns commitment to good leadership and earth stewardship is an inspiration. Highly recommend the book.

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Engrossing historical biography of a uniquely intriguing leader

This detailed yet fast-moving book tells the political and cultural story of California through the life of a native son and political scion who seems to capture the state’s spiritual DNA. The author, a longtime LA Times editor, rips history from the headlines, retaining the profound and zany details that define Brown and the state he led in two widespread, profoundly influential tenures. Jim Newton, the author (and in full transparency an old friend) riffs through Patty Hearst, Harvey Milk, Rodney King, Arnold Schwarzenegger and a chronology of other figures with the flowing, innately Californian expertise of a Jerry Garcia guitar solo. In the center of it all is Jerry Brown, an odd combination of philosophical and fierce, who may best personify California post World War II. I never really understood him; now I do. My life in California is also clearer, more orderly, and inspiring for the layered, journalistic history of this dexterous book.

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Great history book as well as biography.

I grew up in CA with the Brown family being in politics and remember so much of what is written about in this book. Hearing more about Jerry's background and the influence on his politics was enlightening. What an interesting life he had. I had forgotten that he attempted a run for President as many times as he had. The author's writing is insightful, and references to other world events during Jerry's life brings a great perspective to his life. I listened to the book - Jim Newton's voice is great for narration.