Explores the tumultuous decade in American history, covering such topics as civil rights, Vietnam, the assasination of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, the war on poverty, marijuana usage, and the policies of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon.
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David French warns of the potential dangers to the country—and the world—if we don’t summon the courage to reconcile our political differences. Two decades into the 21st Century, the U.S. is less united than at any time in our history since the Civil War. We are more diverse in our beliefs and culture than ever before. But red and blue states, secular and religious groups, liberal and conservative idealists, and Republican and Democratic representatives all have one thing in common: each believes their distinct cultures and liberties are being threatened by an escalating violent opposition. This polarized tribalism, espoused by the loudest, angriest fringe extremists on both the left and the right, dismisses dialogue as appeasement; if left unchecked, it could very well lead to secession. An engaging mix of cutting edge research and fair-minded analysis, Divided We Fall is an unblinking look at the true dimensions and dangers of this widening ideological gap, and what could happen if we don't take steps toward bridging it. French reveals chilling, plausible scenarios of how the United States could fracture into regions that will not only weaken the country but destabilize the world. But our future is not written in stone. By implementing James Madison’s vision of pluralism—that all people have the right to form communities representing their personal values—we can prevent oppressive factions from seizing absolute power and instead maintain everyone’s beliefs and identities across all fifty states. Reestablishing national unity will require the bravery to commit ourselves to embracing qualities of kindness, decency, and grace towards those we disagree with ideologically. French calls on all of us to demonstrate true tolerance so we can heal the American divide. If we want to remain united, we must learn to stand together again.
An eye-opening look at how and why America has become so politically polarized Many continue to believe that the United States is a nation of political moderates. In fact, it is a nation divided. It has been so for some time and has grown more so. This book provides a new and historically grounded perspective on the polarization of America, systematically documenting how and why it happened. Polarized presents commonsense benchmarks to measure polarization, draws data from a wide range of historical sources, and carefully assesses the quality of the evidence. Through an innovative and insightful use of circumstantial evidence, it provides a much-needed reality check to claims about polarization. This rigorous yet engaging and accessible book examines how polarization displaced pluralism and how this affected American democracy and civil society. Polarized challenges the widely held belief that polarization is the product of party and media elites, revealing instead how the American public in the 1960s set in motion the increase of polarization. American politics became highly polarized from the bottom up, not the top down, and this began much earlier than often thought. The Democrats and the Republicans are now ideologically distant from each other and about equally distant from the political center. Polarized also explains why the parties are polarized at all, despite their battle for the decisive median voter. No subject is more central to understanding American politics than political polarization, and no other book offers a more in-depth and comprehensive analysis of the subject than this one.
Why are Americans so angry with each other? The United States is caught in a partisan hyperconflict that divides politicians, communities—and even families. Politicians from the president to state and local office-holders play to strongly-held beliefs and sometimes even pour fuel on the resulting inferno. This polarization has become so intense that many people no longer trust anyone from a differing perspective. Drawing on his personal story of growing up as a fundamentalist Christian on a dairy farm in rural Ohio, then as an academic in the heart of the liberal East Coast establishment, Darrell West analyzes the economic, cultural, and political aspects of polarization. He takes advantage of his experiences inside both conservative and liberal camps to explain the views of each side and offer insights into why each is angry with the other. West argues that societal tensions have metastasized into a dangerous tribalism that seriously threatens U.S. democracy. Unless people can bridge these divisions and forge a new path forward, it will be impossible to work together, maintain a functioning democracy, and solve the country's pressing policy problems.
One of the New York Times Ten Best Books of the Year • A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist • A New York Times Notable Book A timely exploration of what Shakespeare’s plays reveal about our divided land. “In this sprightly and enthralling book . . . Shapiro amply demonstrates [that] for Americans the politics of Shakespeare are not confined to the public realm, but have enormous relevance in the sphere of private life.” —The Guardian (London) The plays of William Shakespeare are rare common ground in the United States. For well over two centuries, Americans of all stripes—presidents and activists, soldiers and writers, conservatives and liberals alike—have turned to Shakespeare’s works to explore the nation’s fault lines. In a narrative arching from Revolutionary times to the present day, leading scholar James Shapiro traces the unparalleled role of Shakespeare’s four-hundred-year-old tragedies and comedies in illuminating the many concerns on which American identity has turned. From Abraham Lincoln’s and his assassin, John Wilkes Booth’s, competing Shakespeare obsessions to the 2017 controversy over the staging of Julius Caesar in Central Park, in which a Trump-like leader is assassinated, Shakespeare in a Divided America reveals how no writer has been more embraced, more weaponized, or has shed more light on the hot-button issues in our history.
"As James Madison led America's effort to write its Constitution, he made two great inventions-the separation of powers and federalism. The first is more famous, but the second was most essential because, without federalism, there could have been no United States of America. Federalism has always been about setting the balance of power between the federal government and the states-and that's revolved around deciding just how much inequality the country was prepared to accept in exchange for making piece among often-warring states. Through the course of its history, the country has moved through a series of phases, some of which put more power into the hands of the federal government, and some rested more power in the states. Sometimes this rebalancing led to armed conflict. The Civil War, of course, almost split the nation permanently apart. And sometimes it led to political battles. By the end of the 1960s, however, the country seemed to have settled into a quiet agreement that inequality was a prime national concern, that the federal government had the responsibility for addressing it through its own policies, and that the states would serve as administrative agents of that policy. But as that agreement seemed set, federalism drifted from national debate, just as the states began using their administrative role to push in very different directions. The result has been a rising tide of inequality, with the great invention that helped create the nation increasingly driving it apart"--
Partisan warfare and gridlock in Washington threaten to squander America’s opportunity to show the world that democracy can solve serious economic problems and ensure widely shared prosperity. Instead of working together to meet the challenges ahead—an aging work force, exploding inequality, climate change, rising debt—our elected leaders are sabotaging our economic future by blaming and demonizing each other in hopes of winning big in the next election. They are weakening America’s capacity for world leadership and the case for democracy here and abroad. Alice M. Rivlin, with decades of experience in economic policy making, argues that proven economic policies could lead to sustainable American prosperity and opportunity for all, but crafting them requires the tough, time-consuming work of consensus building and bipartisan negotiation. In a divided country with shifting majorities, major policies must have bipartisan buy-in and broad public support. Otherwise we will have either destabilizing swings in policy or total gridlock in the face of challenges looming at us. Rivlin believes that Americans can and must save our hyper-partisan politicians from themselves. She makes the case that on many practical economic issues the public is far less divided than partisan politicians and sensationalist media would have us believe. She draws attention to numerous hopeful efforts to bridge partisan and ideological divides in Washington, in state capitols and city governments, and communities around the country, and advocates a major national effort to enable citizens and future leaders to learn and practice the art of listening to each other and working together to find common ground. This book is a practical guide for Americans across the political spectrum who are agonizing over partisan warfare, incivility, and policy gridlock and looking for ways they can help to get our democratic policy process back on a constructive track before it is too late.
A poignant look at empathetic encounters between staunch ideological rivals, all centered around our common need for food. While America's new reality appears to be a deeply divided body politic, many are wondering how we can or should move forward from here. Can political or social divisiveness be healed? Is empathy among people with very little ideological common ground possible? In A Decent Meal, Michael Carolan finds answers to these fundamental questions in a series of unexpected places: around our dinner tables, along the aisles of our supermarkets, and in the fields growing our fruits and vegetables. What is more common, after all, than the simple fact that we all need to eat? This book is the result of Carolan's career-long efforts to create simulations in which food could be used to build empathy, among even the staunchest of rivals. Though most people assume that presenting facts will sway the way the public behaves, time and again this assumption is proven wrong as we all selectively accept the facts that support our beliefs. Drawing on the data he has collected, Carolan argues that we must, instead, find places and practices where incivility—or worse, hate—is suspended and leverage those opportunities into tools for building social cohesion. Each chapter follows the individuals who participated in a given experiment, ranging from strawberry-picking, attempting to subsist on SNAP benefits, or attending a dinner of wild game. By engaging with participants before, during, and after, Carolan is able to document their remarkable shifts in attitude and opinion. Though this book is framed around food, it is really about the spaces opened up by our need for food, in our communities, in our homes, and, ultimately, in our minds.
In The Divided City, urban practitioner and scholar Alan Mallach presents a detailed picture of what has happened over the past 15 to 20 years in industrial cities like Pittsburgh and Baltimore, as they have undergone unprecedented, unexpected revival. He spotlights these changes while placing them in their larger economic, social and political context. Most importantly, he explores the pervasive significance of race in American cities, and looks closely at the successes and failures of city governments, nonprofit entities, and citizens as they have tried to address the challenges of change. The Divided City concludes with strategies to foster greater equality and opportunity, firmly grounding them in the cities' economic and political realities.
The President...gone. America is divided. The Civil War has begun! In the gripping, fast-paced, second story in the “America Divided” series, America is engaged in a modern Civil War. Brother stands against brother, as powers on both sides attempt to take over the country. This is the second book in a multi-book series.