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Why We're Liberals: A Political Handbook for…
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Why We're Liberals: A Political Handbook for Post-Bush America

by Eric Alterman

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Alterman has produced a solid handbook for liberals who want to reclaim the title from the opprobrium that has been heaped on the term for years. The beginning of the book addresses the question in its title and takes a hard look at the problems liberals face with their own positions; the majority of it examines the usual frames that conservatives attempt to hang on liberals, and offers large amounts of data showing that the frames are usually more accurate for conservatives. The whole thing is heavily footnoted; if the footnotes were published in a hyperlinked version, I would expect this to be quite popular for any liberal going out to do battle in the political blogosphere, along with Glenn Greenwald's Great American Hypocrites.

The book doesn't offer an olive branch to conservatives who are frustrated with the failure of the Republican Party to follow conservative ideals. I would prefer to see a focus on prying the numerous sensible conservatives from the spotlight-hogging extremists. ( )
1 vote slothman | May 9, 2008 |
A primer of the liberal view in politics in America, Eric Alterman does a fairly decent job of providing a nice summary of liberal ideals. Before I get into a discussion of the books content, an idiosyncratic point about the cover …

I hate it! I realize that Alterman probably had nothing to do with it’s design, but it is a clutter of cartoonish images of “liberals.” Although I am certain that these individuals are liberals in the truest sense of the word, the hodge-podge smattering of barely recognizable figures saps the intellectual vigor that this book could possess. It is clear the work is directed toward the choir, and the subtitle “A Political Handbook for Post-Bush America” only reinforces this impression.

As the core of thesis seems to be the notion that America is actually a liberal nation, rather than a conservative one … I would have called the book “We’re All Liberals” and had an image of a blue-colored American map.

Regardless, Alterman does a fantastic job of describing liberalism in the text and clearly argues for the merits of the liberal approach to politics as not only more effective than conservativism, but also as the very nature of the American way of life.

The first part of the book answers the question “What is this thing called Liberal?” in four chapters. The second part, the meat of the book, discusses the maligning of the Liberal viewpoint by conservatives. Although a great series of chapters that respond point-for-point to the charges leveled against liberals by the right, at times the book falls into the trap of simply repeating the oft-heard complaints against the Bush white house and the neo-conservatives. In other words, at times Alterman offers very little aside from the notion that Liberals are simply “not conservatives.”

And, as most political pundits, he offers no real solutions to the issues. Given that the subtitle suggests the books is some sort of handbook, it completely lacks any actual advice.

This is a book, as usual, that preaches to the choir. It is unfortunate that the vast majority of people who actually need to read this book, those being consistently duped by the right wing media, are unlikely to ever pick it up. ( )
1 vote bingereader | Apr 10, 2008 |
superficial election year book -- makes comments on conservative's comments but doesn't spend enough time developing his own arguments -- good columnist -- this can be skipped
1 vote toread1 | Dec 3, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670018600, Hardcover)

Thanks to the machinations of the right, there is no dirtier word in American politics today than "liberal." Yet public-opinion polls consistently show that the majority of Americans hold liberal views on everything from health care to foreign policy. In this feisty, accessible primer, Eric Alterman sets out to restore liberalism to its rightful honored place as the politics of America's everyday citizens. In a crisply argued and extensively documented counterattack on right-wing spin and misinformation, Alterman briskly disposes of such canards as "Liberals Hate God" and "Liberals Are Soft on Terrorism," reclaiming liberalism from the false definitions foisted upon it. Why We're Liberals is the perfect election-year book for all of those ready to fight back against the conservative mud-slinging machine and claim their voice in the political debate.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:26 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Thanks to the machinations of the right, there is no dirtier word in American politics today than "liberal"--yet public opinion polls consistently show that the majority of Americans hold liberal views on everything from health care to foreign policy. In this feisty, accessible primer, journalist and scholar Alterman sets out to restore liberalism to its rightful honored place in our political life as the politics of America's everyday citizens. In a crisply argued though extensively documented counterattack on right-wing spin and misinformation, Alterman briskly disposes of such canards as "Liberals Hate God" and "Liberals Are Soft on Terrorism," reclaiming liberalism from the false definitions foisted upon it by the right and repeated everywhere else. This book brings clarity and perspective to what has often been a one-sided debate for nothing less than the heart and soul of America.--From publisher description.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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