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Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for…
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Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of… (original 2012; edition 2012)

by E. J. Dionne (Author)

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601197,694 (3.88)3
Member:pranogajec
Title:Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent
Authors:E. J. Dionne (Author)
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Collections:Kindle
Rating:**1/2
Tags:history, US, politics, liberalism, read in 2013, republicanism

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Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent by E. J. Dionne (2012)

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An immensely readable and cojent presentation of how the conservative and progressive movements in the US have gotten to where they are today. Dionne begins by describing the nature of the extreme polarization we all feel in modern politics and then takes us back to the years immediately following the adoption of the US Constitution to show the roots of conflict which have always been a part of our history - primarily the struggle to balance an individualism unique to American culture with a strong committment to community and duty to the Union. Our Divided Political Heart focuses especially on the 20th century, and the "Long Consensus" which led to a relatively stable political and economic reality supportive of the rise of the American Century.

If you have not spent any time exploring these subjects, the introductory chapter alone will be a real eye-opener, and will provide the reader with a much healthier understanding of what's going on in modern politics. If it does fire you up enough to read on (as it should), you will be rewarded with both a solid overview of the ebb and flow of consensus and polarization as the US has struggled for balance, and enough historical detail to allow the reader to accept or reject Dionne's conclusions. Either way, you will better understand the 'other'.

Written with a healthy respect for the importance of (and the need for) both conservatism and progressivism in a healthy republic, Our Divided Heart will either arm the moderate liberal with a greater understanding to support opposition to an increasingly aggressive conservatism, or provide the moderate or radical conservative with a better understanding of where those crazy liberals are coming from, and why we need them.

Must read for anyone with an interest in current US politics and its place in political history, regardless of where one resides on the political spectrum.

Os. ( )
  Osbaldistone | Nov 14, 2012 |
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For all of my teachers, including Jim Garman, Norm Hess, the Rev. Damian Kearney, Bill Schneider, Gary Orren, Nathan Glzer, Steven Lukes, Michael Hill, Michael Walzer, David Riesman, Sam Popkin, Martin Shefter, Marty Peretz, Kate Auspitz, Semour Martin Lipset, Bob Meister, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Barbara Herman, Rick Weil, Shelly Binn, and Bill Kovach.

And, again, for Mary, James, Julia, and Margot,

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Fear of decline is one of the oldest American impulses. (Introduction)
It began with the rant that shook the country.
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Book description
Our Divided Political Heart will be the must-read 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 reading for all who seek a path out of our current impasse.
[retrieved 10/3/2012 from Amazon.com]
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One of America's most respected and well-known political analysts weighs in on what is tearing us apart --the ascendency of individualism and the diminishment of community -- just in time for the election.

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