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From the Publisher"A romp through 100 years of North Carolina politics...Help[s] readers understand the conflicts and contradictions that define North Carolina to this day."
— Greensboro News and Record
How can a state be represented by Jesse Helms and John Edwards at the same time? Journalist Rob Christensen answers that question and navigates a century of political history in North Carolina, one of the most vibrant and competitive southern states, where neither conservatives nor liberals, Democrats nor Republicans, have been able to rest easy. It is this climate of competition and challenge, Christensen argues, that enabled North Carolina to rise from poverty in the nineteenth century to become a leader in research, education, and banking in the twentieth.
Although party divisions and the issues of race that often distinguish them are deeply rooted, Christensen explains, North Carolina voters remain loyal to candidates who focus on issues such as education and building a business-friendly infrastructure. He takes us to picket lines and debates and through numerous red-baiting and race-baiting political campaigns. Along the way we are introduced to many remarkable characters, including a U.S. senator who was a Nazi sympathizer, a candidate for governor who was a Soviet agent, a senator who helped bring down Joe McCarthy and Richard Nixon, and a TV commentator who helped usher in the Reagan Revolution. Long before the talk of red state-blue state polarization, North Carolina was an intensely divided state politically. With Christensen as a guide, readers may find there is sense after all in the topsy-turvy nature of Tar Heel politics.
I picked this book up at the North Carolina Council for the Social Studies Conference last month where the author gave a keynote address.
The first 200 pages are fabulous. I found out I did not know much about my own state and Mr. Christenson filled in a lot of those gaps for me. The writing is very good and flows nicely.
In the last 100 pages, I found myself wanting more. That is not the author's fault, I just wanted to know more.
This book helped me, as perhaps no other book has done, to remind me about the importance of being an informed voter and the importance of avoiding a lot of the fear tactics in elections. His coverage of the many different periods and ages of NC politics was very insightful. I like that he took a lot of his sources from newspapers as well.
Thank You, Mr. Christensen, for a very good read. I plan to use some of the information in my history classes at the high school and community college.
Posted April 20, 2009
OK, so I will admit that the original reason I bought the book has to do with the fact that the author is my cousin by marriage. Of course, in the South, that is considered blood kin. But my interest in regional politics is real and this was an entertaining read. Some of the material I was familiar with but lots of the material was new or presented in a different frame of reference than I had heard. The writing was succinct and insightful and I was pleasantly pleased to see that many of my previously held views of politicians from NC were not all that far off base. I enjoyed the book but I think that it is not for everyone. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys learning more about how government and state officials work.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.