The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart / Edition 1
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The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart / Edition 1

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by Bill Bishop, Robert G. Cushing
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0618689354

ISBN-13: 9780618689354

Pub. Date: 05/07/2008

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt


The untold story of why America is so culturally and politically divided

America may be more diverse than ever coast to coast, but the places where we live are becoming increasingly crowded with people who live, think, and vote as we do. This social transformation didn't happed by accident. We’ve built a country where we can all choose the neighborhood --

Overview


The untold story of why America is so culturally and politically divided

America may be more diverse than ever coast to coast, but the places where we live are becoming increasingly crowded with people who live, think, and vote as we do. This social transformation didn't happed by accident. We’ve built a country where we can all choose the neighborhood -- and religion and news show -- most compatible with our lifestyle and beliefs. And we are living with the consequences of this way-of-life segregation. Our country has become so polarized, so ideologically inbred, that people don’t know and can’t understand those who live just a few miles away. The reason for this situation, and the dire implications for our country, is the subject of this groundbreaking work.

In 2004, the journalist Bill Bishop, armed with original and startling demographic data, made national news in a series of articles showing how Americans have been sorting themselves over the past three decades into alarmingly homogeneous communities -- not by region or by red state or blue state, but by city and even neighborhood. In The Big Sort, Bishop deepens his analysis in a brilliantly reported book that makes its case from the ground up, starting with stories about how we live today and then drawing on history, economics, and our changing political landscape to create one of the most compelling big-picture accounts of America in recent memory.

The Big Sort will draw comparisons to Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone and Richard Florida's The Rise of the Creative Class and will redefine the way Americans think about themselves for decades to come.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618689354
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
05/07/2008
Edition description:
None
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.87(d)

Table of Contents


Introduction 1 Part I: The Power of Place 1. The Age of Political Segregation 19 2. The Politics of Migration 41 3. The Psychology of the Tribe 58

Part II: The Silent Revolution 4. Culture Shift: The 1965 Unraveling 81 5. The Beginning of Division: Beauty and Salvation in 1974 105 6. The Economics of the Big Sort: Culture and Growth in the 1990s 129

Part III: The Way We Live Today 7. Religion: The Missionary and the Megachurch 159 8. Advertising: Grace Slick, Tricia Nixon, and You 182 9. Lifestyle: “Books, Beer, Bikes, and Birkenstocks” 196

Part IV: The Politics of People Like Us 10. Choosing a Side 221 11. The Big Sort Campaign 249 12. To Marry Your Enemies 276

Acknowledgments 307 Notes 310 Selected Bibliography 337 Index 350

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The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
J_Parker More than 1 year ago
The premise of Bill Bishop's book is that the United States, through the formation of small, homogenous units, is being torn apart, as the book's subtitle informs us. So, naturally, the author focuses on describing and giving examples of how the nation is more clustered now than it has been in recent decades. And while the scope as described is broad, the actual contents of the book were found surprisingly to be substantially more narrowly-focused. For anyone interested in how this clustering applies to political science, this book is for you. The author spends the majority of the book describing the Big Sort from a political perspective, with plenty of examples based on data gathered and analyzed by well-known and admired statistician Robert Cushing. However, once you move beyond the discussion of the Big Sort in reference to political science, the book falls short. There is some discussion of the Sort in relation to religion, which is interesting. But beyond that, the references to the Sort from perspectives such as wealth/income, ideas, education, race, etc. were considerably lacking. They were mentioned and discussed briefly (to give credit where credit is due) but the pages allocated to them pale in comparison to the allocation give to politics. The book reads almost as though it was initially written solely from a political perspective, and the addition of non-political justifications for his Sort theory was more of an afterthought. In addition, near the end of the book, Bishop mentions that we have been sorted, or polarized, before and that these divisions have been temporary and ultimately resolved. However, he spends almost no time discussing the history past sorts and how they arose, what they were like, or how they dissipated. Nor does he spend much time considering the implications of the current sort or expectations of how or when it will resolve itself. I found myself waiting for this at the conclusion of the book, but instead the final chapter was reserved for further examples of political sorting from the 2008 election data (as if there wasn't enough of that in the preceding chapters of the book) Overall, I found the book lacking, and as a result unconvincing as to why the reader should care about any polarization we are undergoing as a country. Our cultural waxes and wanes along the spectrum of a variety of societal norms, seemingly and simply enough just due to human nature. I can't help but think that if the book were written by someone with more a scientific background (such as in anthropology or sociology) or by an author like a Jared Diamond, rather than a pure journalist, that we may have found ourselves reading a more insightful and engaging book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago