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Atria (2019-09-10)
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A Memoir of Love and Death, Hope and Resistance

by Barkan, Ady

In this inspirational and moving memoir - reminiscent of When Breath Becomes Air and The Bright Hour - Ady Barkan explores his life with ALS and how his diagnosis gave him a profound new understanding of his commitment to social justice for all.

Ady Barkan loved taking afternoon runs on the California coast and holding his newborn son, Carl. But one day, he noticed a troubling weakness in his hand. At first, he brushed it off as carpal tunnel syndrome, but after a week of neurological exams and two MRIs, he learned the cause of the problem: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. At age 32, Ady was given just three to four years to live. Yet despite the devastating diagnosis, he refused to let his remaining days go to waste.

Eyes to the Wind is a rousing memoir featuring intertwining storylines about determination, perseverance, and how to live a life filled with purpose and intention. The first traces Ady's battle with ALS: how he turned the initial shock and panic from his diagnosis into a renewed commitment to social justice - not despite his disability but because of it. The second, told in flashbacks, illustrates Ady's journey from a goofy political nerd to a prominent figure in the enduring fight for equity and justice who is "willing to give [his] last breath to save our democracy" (CNN).

From one of today's most vocal advocates for social justice, Eyes to the Wind is an evocative and unforgettable memoir about activism, dedication, love, and hope.

Ady Barkan is a social justice activist who has built three programs at The Center for Popular Democracy: the Be A Hero and Fed Up campaigns and the Local Progress network. He was a law clerk to the Hon. Shira A. Scheindlin in the Southern District of New York and prior to that he was a Liman Fellow with Make the Road New York, where he represented low-wage workers seeking to recover unpaid wages and obtain safe and dignified working conditions. He graduated from Yale Law School and Columbia College. He lives with his wife Rachael and their young son Carl in Santa Barbara, California. Eyes to the Wind is his first book.

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In the face of death, Ady has written a beautiful, poignant story about what it means to live. His commitment to our collective struggle for democracy amid his own grueling battle with ALS is the most inspiring example of activism I've ever known, and a reminder that even in trying times and unimaginable circumstances, it's possible to lead a life filled with joy, purpose, love, and peace. This memoir is a gift to anyone who dreams of a better world.

Quote: Jon Favreau, political commentator; former Director of Speechwriting for Obama

article about the author: The Most Powerful Activist in America Is Dying: Ady Barkan has a terminal illness and can barely speak. That hasn't stopped him from using his voice - and his ailing body - to fight for a progressive agenda.

Quote: Politico Magazine

Eyes to the Wind is the gripping story of resistance and the triumph of human will. Barkan retells the timeless story of a parent's love as he vividly details a very personal narrative of how far a father will go so that he can leave the world a little better than he found it.

Quote: Senator Elizabeth Warren

Eyes to the Wind will move you through every emotion and leave you transformed. Ady's words are a powerful gift to those of us who are searching for hope in these dark times... Ady reminds us that no matter our circumstances, we must fight for the things we believe in at all costs because someone we love is counting on us. I am left rejuvenated and ready to win.

Quote: Linda Sarsour, political activist

Opinion column: Dying Is No Reason to Stop Fighting: The liberal activist Ady Barkan, diagnosed with A.L.S. in 2016, is using every last minute to campaign for universal health insurance. ...

Review: New York Times

Article about the author: Medicare for All: activist dying of ALS testifies via eye movements at hearing; 'My story is tragic but not unique,' Ady Barkan tells lawmakers as he pushes for healthcare overhaul

Quote: The Guardian

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