The Right Nation: Why America is Different Paperback – 1 Sep 2005
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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.
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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.
The authors argue that America has always been a conservative nation, the Revolution notwithstanding. The Revolution was fought not to introduce new rights and privileges, but to preserve and maintain the status quo. The Britain of the time was seen as infringing and oppressing rights enshrined in law; it was a revolution fought against change, not for it. And as a result, government itself was seen as part of the problem, and that view hasn't changed.
The authors also argue that because so much of American history has been written by what we call, for lack of a better word, the bourgeoisie, it has never developed a radical fringe, either Left or Right, that other countries with more established labour classes have. I'm not entirely convinced by that argument, although there's no denying the country was founded with Jefferson's small farmer in mind, and farmers have always tended to skew conservative.
Because of this past, both dominant political parties in America are conservative to European eyes, the Centre and the Right-of-Centre. Even the supposed liberal party, the Democrats, is not as left-wing as most of Europe. This, the authors argue, aids the Republicans as the more right of the parties, as the Democrats have less to argue against.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book made a big impact when it was first published a decade ago, charting and explaining the then political dominance of the new conservatism in US politics. Read morePublished on 20 April 2014 by A. L. Teasdale
Prompt delivery and good value. A very interesting read. Good for improving knowledge if the right in US PoliticsPublished on 1 Jan. 2014 by CW
John Micklethwait and Adrian Woolridge are journalists writing for The Economist, and this book bears the same high quality of writing that many have come to expect from that... Read morePublished on 5 April 2011 by Dr. Bojan Tunguz
The Right Nation is a good book which is very well-written. It has interesting analysis and conclusions and explains quite simply why America is different. Read morePublished on 25 Jan. 2008 by HBH
America has a curious power over those who visit for long periods of time. At first many of its habits and choices repel, but after a while its sheer self confidence seduces its... Read morePublished on 25 Oct. 2007 by Anton
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