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The Right Nation: Why America is Different [Paperback]

John Micklethwait , Adrian Wooldridge
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Sep 2005

The Right Nation is the definitive portrait of the America that few outsiders understand: the America that votes for George Bush, that supports the death penalty and gun rights, that believes in minimal government and long prison sentences, that pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol.

America, argue John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, award winning journalists at The Economist, has always been a conservative country; but over the past 50 years it has built up a radical conservative movement unlike any other country. The authors tell the story of how these radicals took over the Republican Party, and they deconstruct the Bush White House, examining the many influences from neo-conservatism to sun belt entrepreneurialism. This quest takes the authors from young churchgoers in Colorado Springs to gay gun clubs in Massachusetts to black supporters of school vouchers in Milwaukee. And they drive to the heart of a question that is relevant to us all: why does America seem so different?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 488 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (1 Sep 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141015365
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141015361
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 148,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A kind of anthropology of the conservative movement, from 1952 to today. ("The Wall Street Journal") The best political book in years. (George F. Will, "The Washington Post") The writing is consistently crisp and intelligent, the conclusions balanced?. a work of penetrating insight. ("The New York Times") "The Right Nation" is smart, witty, and a pleasure to read. ("Business Week")

About the Author

John Micklethwait is the US editor of The Economist and Adrian Wooldridge writes its Lexington column. They are the authors of A Future Perfect, The Witch Doctors and The Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
SIR LEWIS NAMIER, the great historian of English politics in the age of George III, once remarked that "English history, and especially English parliamentary history, is made by families rather than individuals." Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why are Americans so right-wing? 16 April 2006
The authors are British and cover America for The Economist magazine. The book attempts to explain how and why America has become such a conservative country. Their point of view is that of moderate conservatives who like America but find some aspects of American conservatism a bit strange.

It is divided into four parts:

The first part, History, is a history of American conservatism from 1952 until 2000, showing how we went from "Eisenhower Republicanism" to George W Bush.

The second part, Anatomy, goes into more detail about the modern-day conservative movement in America.

The third part, Prophecy, looks at the future of conservatism in America: why America is likely to become more rather than less conservative, what could go wrong for the Republicans, and how the Republican party might change due to the increasing influence of young people, ethnic minorities and women.

The fourth part, Exception, looks at why America has such a different political climate from Europe, both in being more conservative and in having such a different flavour of conservatism. There is a fascinating chapter on the historical reasons why America is so right-wing.

Finally the conclusion discusses how America and Europe might get along with each other despite their differences.

If this is sort of thing you find interesting, I would also recommend George Lakoff's books.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
By Dr. V. Stewart VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
One wouldn't think that it was possible to so clearly analyse the rise of the New Right from so many viewpoints, and with a compelling mixture of regard for what really happened and a clear eye for ethics and consequences: but these writers have done it. Partly it's because they take the long view - way back to LBJ and the Great Society; partly because they really do treat the USA on its own terms (e.g. it's big. So if you dislike your neighbour, you could move - at least, that's the folk memory. The book is the work of loving friends; about a country which 'has come early into its full inheritance' and isn't quite sure what to do about it or even to talk to itself about it. Quite a read.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Balanced, Objective and Right on the Money 26 July 2006
This is an extremely impressive work that combines a strong central argument with an array of supporting details and examples. It is thoughtful, lucid and never strays from objectively describing the current American political landscape. It is refreshing to read a book that is thoroughly divorced from partisanship and committed to accurate political analysis. I thoroughly recommend this lively and prophetic text.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Analysis 26 Aug 2007
Excellent read for anyone outside the USA who wants to understand political issues in the US. Better coverage of issues than you will conventionally get on European News channels. 10/10
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Right Nation 17 Mar 2005
By A Customer
Written by the Economist's US correspondents, this book is a perfect way to start exploring a better understanding of American society today. The book charts the history of the conservative movement from its origins in the southern Democratic Party, through the perceived failures of President Johnson's social policies, to the emergence of the modern Neo-conservative consciousness. The book's main thesis is that American society itself is significantly more conservative than UK/European societies: in order to understand the foreign and domestic policies of the White House under George W Bush, we must first understand that the 'Average American Joe' is likely to view the world and the role of government in society very differently from us. The truly comprehensive scope of the book is enhanced by an easy to read style and lot of humour. Overall, The Right Nation is undeniably academic, yet I enjoyed it on a beach holiday. Thoroughly recommended.
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