Barack Obama's America: How New Conceptions of Race, Family, and Religion Ended the Reagan Era

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"White's Barack Obama's America eloquently captures both the important nuances of the current political scene and its long-term consequences."
---Richard Wirthlin, former pollster for Ronald Reagan

"This delightfully written and accessible book is the best available account of the changes in culture, society, and politics that have given us Barack Obama's America."
---Stan Greenberg, pollster for Bill Clinton ...

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Overview

"White's Barack Obama's America eloquently captures both the important nuances of the current political scene and its long-term consequences."
---Richard Wirthlin, former pollster for Ronald Reagan

"This delightfully written and accessible book is the best available account of the changes in culture, society, and politics that have given us Barack Obama's America."
---Stan Greenberg, pollster for Bill Clinton and Chairman and CEO of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research

"From one of the nation's foremost experts on how values shape our politics, a clear and compelling account of the dramatic shifts in social attitudes that are transforming American political culture. White's masterful blend of narrative and data illuminates the arc of electoral history from Reagan to Obama, making a powerful case for why we are entering a new progressive political era."
---Matthew R. Kerbel, Professor of Political Science, Villanova University, and author of Netroots

"John Kenneth White is bold. He asks the big questions . . . Who are we? What do we claim to believe? How do we actually live? What are our politics? John Kenneth White writes compellingly about religion and the role it played in making Barack Obama president. White's keen insight into America's many faiths clarifies why Barack Obama succeeded against all odds. It is a fascinating description of religion and politics in twenty-first-century America---a must-read."
---Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland and author of Failing America's Faithful

"In Barack Obama's America, John Kenneth White has written the political equivalent of Baedeker or Michelin, the definitive guide to and through the new, uncharted political landscape of our world. White captures and explains what America means---and what it means to be an American---in the twenty-first century."
---Mark Shields, nationally syndicated columnist and political commentator for PBS NewsHour

"John White has always caught important trends in American politics that others missed. With his shrewd analysis of why Barack Obama won, he's done it again."
---E. J. Dionne, Jr., Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, and University Professor in the Foundations of Democracy and Culture at Georgetown University

The election of Barack Obama to the presidency marks a conclusive end to the Reagan era, writes John Kenneth White in Barack Obama's America. Reagan symbolized a 1950s and 1960s America, largely white and suburban, with married couples and kids at home, who attended church more often than not.

Obama's election marks a new era, the author writes. Whites will be a minority by 2042. Marriage is at an all-time low. Cohabitation has increased from a half-million couples in 1960 to more than 5 million in 2000 to even more this year. Gay marriages and civil unions are redefining what it means to be a family. And organized religions are suffering, even as Americans continue to think of themselves as a religious people. Obama's inauguration was a defining moment in the political destiny of this country, based largely on demographic shifts, as described in Barack Obama's America.

John Kenneth White is Professor of Politics at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Cover image: "Out of many, we are one: Dare to Hope: Faces from 2008 Obama Rallies" by Anne C. Savage, view and buy full image at http://revolutionaryviews.com/obama_poster.html.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
White, an author and D.C.-based professor of politics, documents the shifting demographic sands that led to President Obama's election, and the "politics of discomfort" that have arisen (on the right and the left) in America's transformation from a predominately white country, content to reminisce about conservative 1950s values, into a multicultural body politic with elastic cultural and social mores. With a sensibility that recalls Robert Putnam's seminal Bowling Alone, White uses polls, census data, popular media and political anecdotes to describe a "new" society, in which interracial marriage, divorce, single motherhood and cohabitation are no longer taboo, in which gay rights gain ground (as long as marriage isn't put to a vote) and people attend church more for entertainment and community than for religion. Changes in attitudes in any one of these areas-race, family, gay rights, religion-would be "good enough to transform politics as previously understood"; together, they constitute "four revolutions" that show "no signs of abating." Though he's generally a careful, dispassionate observer, White (The New Politics of Old Values) occasionally betrays a hint of wistfulness for the social and political frameworks of a bygone time.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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