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Book Review by Tom Dewar: Cormac Russell, Rekindling Democracy: A Professional's Guide to Working in Citizen Space

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​This book is a welcome and clarifying contribution to contemporary community building. Cormac places Asset-Based Community Development into historical and comparative context. He looks back to founding ideas and integrates them into an overall understanding of where we are and how we got here. Here he carefully reviews a wide range of influences on ABCD and applies their insights in clear and memorable ways.

An insightful ABCD practitioner himself, he is always on the lookout for rich and clarifying examples, which once described leave us permanently on the lookout for both dangers and authentic openings to do real community work…to find and make effective use of our own often overlooked assets. In this moment when many talk of a hoped for “recovery,” Cormac shows the way to understand ABCD at its core as a process of discovery.

When Cormac describes a way forward it is memorable. In keeping with the best of ABCD practice, he is constantly making the invisible, visible. And as importantly, he constantly points us to the next logical next step, once assets are revealed, that of making the unengaged, more engaged; the strangers at the margins, truly welcome. The discoveries tested out in practice and adapted going forward.