The Populist Persuasion: An American History / Edition 2

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Overview

"Michael Kazin enables us to begin to understand the way in which populism has changed from a politics of the left to a politics of the right. The important questions raised by the success of the populist right in the United States are illuminated in Kazin's splendid and timely book."—Thomas Bender, The Nation"Kazin shows populism's canny ability to mix homespun rhetoric and political savvy. . . . The book explains something very important in American life with scrupulous fairness and a keen eye for the humanizing detail. It is as good a road map as we have to the politics of the people who work hard and play by the rules."—Christopher Caldwell, The Wall Street Journal"A perceptive and passionately liberal book. . . . Beginning with the antislavery crusade of the 1840's, [Kazin] skillfully surveys more than a century of mass protests, using imagery and symbolism as his guides."—David Oshinsky, The New York Times For this revised edition, Michael Kazin has rewritten the final chapter, bringing his coverage of populism up to the present (including a discussion of the 1996 presidential election) and added a conclusion.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Michael Kazin enables us to begin to understand the way in which populism has changed from a politics of the left to a politics of the right. The important questions raised by the success of the populist right in the United States are illuminated in Kazin's splendid and timely book."—Thomas Bender, The Nation

"Kazin shows populism's canny ability to mix homespun rhetoric and political savvy. . . . The book explains something very important in American life with scrupulous fairness and a keen eye for the humanizing detail. It is as good a road map as we have to the politics of the people who work hard and play by the rules."—Christopher Caldwell, The Wall Street Journal

"A perceptive and passionately liberal book. . . . Beginning with the antislavery crusade of the 1840s, Kazin skillfully surveys more than a century of mass protests, using imagery and symbolism as his guides."—David Oshinsky, The New York Times

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
If populism now seems ``something of a fashion statement,'' Kazin Barons of Labor ably reveals its rich and textured history. Activists from varied backgrounds have sought to invoke and speak to the masses since the late-19th-century People's Party mobilized agrarians and artisans. Kazin chronicles the place of populism in the labor and socialist movements of the Progressive era, prohibitionism and the crusades of radio cleric Charles Coughlin. After WWII, populism switched from left to right: the Cold War begat Sen. Joseph McCarthy, the New Left failed to ``speak authentically,'' given their middle-class backgrounds, and George Wallace and Ronald Reagan tapped mass anxieties about race and taxes. In a society often said to be in decline, populism becomes ``a language of the disspirited,'' but Kazin observes that progressive intellectuals must take account of populism if our society's problems are to be solved. Illustrations. Feb.
Library Journal
Kazin history, American Univ. has written a thoughtful and important book on one of the more consequential movements in American politics-populism. Tracing the emergence of populist campaigns from the 19th century to the present day, he looks at such movements as the labor movement, the prohibitionist crusade, Catholic radio populist Father Coughlin, the New Left, and the recent advance of conservative populism, as identified with such figures as George Wallace and Ronald Reagan. Kazin opens by saying, "I began to write this book as a way of making sense of a painful experience: the decline of the American Left, including its liberal component, and the rise of the Right." Anyone interested in either political tendency will find this book both informative and engaging. It is a powerful, elegantly written, and observant study that never fails to retain the reader's interest. The book's one major flaw is its nave and overly sanguine treatment of the American Communist Party. Its major selling point is its suggestive analysis of right-wing populism. Recommended for all collections.-Kent Worcester, Social Science Research Council, New York
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801485589
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/1998
  • Edition description: REVISED
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 408
  • Sales rank: 1,017,286
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Speaking for the People
1. Inheritance
2. The Righteous Commonwealth of the Late Nineteenth Century
3. Workers as Citizens: Labor and the Left in the Gompers Era
4. Onward, Christian Mothers and Soldiers: The Prohibitionist Crusade
5. Social Justice and Social Paranoia: The Catholic Populism of Father Coughlin
6. The Many and the Few: The CIO and the Embrace of Liberalism
7. A Free People Fight Back: The Rise and Fall of the Cold War Right
8. Power to Which People? The Tragedy of the White New Left
9. Stand Up for the Working Man: George Wallace and the Making of a New Right
10. The Conservative Capture: From Nixon to Reagan
11. Spinning the People
Conclusion: A Language We Need?

A Note on Method
Notes
Further Reading
Index

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