British journalist and historian Godfrey Hodgson dissects the rise of conservatism in the U.S. during the last quarter of the twentieth century. Hodgson is an unapologetic liberal, and though he’s ultimately optimistic about America, he finds much to lament in this period. Even die-hard conservatives might be given pause by his warnings about growing social stratification and inequality. Hodgson’s greatest contribution to the political discussion may be his examination of this time period from so many angles, exposing myths and misconceptions about each facet of society, especially the much-ballyhooed prosperity of the ’90s. The book is plagued by inadequate fact-checking on minor issues, however, which could call his larger points into question, despite 43 pages of end notes and an extensive bibliography. Despite these flaws, getAbstract.com finds this thoughtful study useful for anyone trying to understand American politics and future trends.
In this summary, you will learn
- How the civil rights movement inadvertently polarized American politics and shifted the country to the right;
- How the 1990s’ triumphalism was based on a false picture of the U.S. economy;
- How the growing inequality of opportunity is turning America into a deeply stratified, class-bound society; and
- How the deification of free market capitalism and the influence of money in politics threaten to undermine American democracy.
About the Author
An associate fellow at The Rothermere American Institute at Oxford University, Godfrey Hodgson has written six books, including a biography of Daniel Patrick Moynihan and America In Our Time.