Our Divided Political Heart will be the must-listen book of the 2012 election campaign. Offering an incisive analysis of how hyper-individualism is poisoning the nation's political atmosphere, E. J. Dionne Jr. argues that Americans can't agree on who we are because we can't agree on who we've been, or what it is, philosophically and spiritually, that makes us Americans.
Dionne takes on the Tea Party's distortions of American history and shows that the true American tradition points not to radical individualism, but to a balance between our love of individualism and our devotion to community.
Dionne offers both a fascinating tour of American history - from the Founding Fathers to Clay and Lincoln and on to the Populists, the Progressives, and the New Dealers - and also an analysis of our current politics that shatters conventional wisdom. The true American idea, far from endorsing government inaction or indifference, has always viewed the federal government as an active and constructive partner with the rest of society in promoting prosperity, opportunity, and American greatness.
The ability of the American system to self-correct is its greatest asset, and Dionne challenges progressives to embrace the American story. Our fractious but productive past offers us the resources both to rediscover the idea of progress and to put an end to our fears of decline. Our Divided Political Heart will be required listening for all who seek a path out of our current impasse.
"Tea Partiers and Occupiers alike may be surprised and enlightened by this lucid analysis, all the more convincing for its sympathetic treatment of both sides of the argument." (Publishers Weekly)
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Good points and lots of good information
This book was full of information and insights which I found to be very interesting. That said, I am a huge early-American political thought nerd, and others might have found this level of detail and intricacy a bit difficult to grasp or at least be overwhelmed by all the little details that go into making what is a very nuanced argument. It might have been presented more concisely, but I like the book, I agree with the bulk of the author's insights and thought he explained it well and thoroughly and it was very well-thought-out.
- Jamie Britton Blanck "A little left-leaning and very curious"
A great perspective on American political history
A fascinating take on how we got to this disturbingly polarized political landscape
He's a great reader, and makes challenging material very accessible
Whether you agree or disagree with this notion of an imbalance of our historically conflicting tendencies of individualism vs. more community-focused policymaking, books like this need to be read by more people so we can at least begin to have a civilized conversation around our differences instead of the current winner-take-all bloodletting style of politics