The Age of Acquiescence: The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organized Wealth and Power

The Age of Acquiescence: The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organized Wealth and Power

by Steve Fraser

Paperback(First Trade Paper Edition)

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The Age of Acquiescence: The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organized Wealth and Power by Steve Fraser

"Sweeping and ambitious.... Fraser weaves together a rich tapestry of history, statistics and barely suppressed outrage." —Maura Casey, The Washington Post

From the Revolution through the Civil Rights Movement, Americans mobilized against political, social, and economic privilege. But over the last half-century that political will has vanished. In The Age of Acquiescence, Steve Fraser explains why. His account of national transformation brilliantly examines the rise of American capitalism, the visionary attempts to protect the democratic commonwealth, and the great surrender to today's delusional fables of freedom and the politics of fear. Effervescent and razorsharp, The Age of Acquiescence is indispensable for understanding why we no longer fight for a more just society, and how we can revive the great American tradition of resistance in our own time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465097791
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 03/01/2016
Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
Pages: 488
Sales rank: 498,266
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Steve Fraser is the author of Every Man a Speculator and Wall Street, among other books, and has written for the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and The Nation. He lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Part I
Class Warfare in America: The Long Nineteenth Century

1. Progress
2. Progress, Poverty, and Primitive Accumulation
3. Premonitions
4. The Second Civil War: In the Countryside
5. The Second Civil War: On the Industrial Frontier
6. Myth and History
7. The End of Socialism

Part II
Desire and Fear in the Second Gilded Age

8. Back to the Future: The Political Economy of Auto-cannibalism
9. Fables of Acquiescence: The Businessman as Populist Hero
10. Fables of Freedom: Brand X
11. Wages of Freedom: The Fable of the Free Agent
12. Journey to Nowhere: The Eclipse of the Labor Movement
13. Improbable Rebels: The Folklore of Limousine Liberalism
14. Conclusion: Exit by the Rear Doors

What People are Saying About This

Greg Grandin

Over the last few years, there's been a wealth of books describing our new Gilded Age and bemoaning the extreme economic inequality that now defines modern America. Steve Fraser's fascinating The Age of Acquiescence is indispensable because it explains how that happened, how America's long standing opposition to concentrated wealth was defeated. Steve Fraser, in other words, is Thomas Piketty with politics, providing a crucial guide in helping the ninety-nine percent understand the terms of their defeat and, more importantly, how it can once again go on the offensive. --Greg Grandin, author of The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World and Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City

Lewis Lapham

A splendid and illuminating book. Fraser's writing is clear-headed and free of cant. I know of no better an accounting for the division of America over the last forty years into a minority of the terrified rich and a majority of the humiliated poor. --Lewis Lapham, editor of Lapham's Quarterly and author of Pretensions to Empire: Notes on the Criminal Folly of the Bush Administration

Frances Fox Piven

Steve Fraser has given us a sweeping account of the economic and cultural changes in American society that combined to create an earlier era of working class struggle and hope, and then in our present moment have generated quiescence and despair. Read this book for its synoptic account of the ways that cultural manipulation have accompanied intensifying economic exploitation. But read it also to snatch glimmers of a better future from the past. --Frances Fox Piven, author of Challenging Authority: How Ordinary People Change America

Eric Foner

Steve Fraser is that rare writer who combines a deep knowledge of history with a penetrating analysis of our current political and social condition. Here, in the lively prose that marks all his writing, he probes the similarities and differences between America's two gilded ages — the late nineteenth-century and today — offering provocative observations about why the first produced massive popular resistance and the second resigned acquiescence. --Eric Foner, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery

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The Age of Acquiescence: The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organized Wealth and Power 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The answer to Fraser's core question - why was political resistance to capitalism so strong in the 19th century and so non-existent in our own time - is thoroughly researched and passionately presented. What I found gratifying intellectually about the book is how Fraser grounded his arguments in the psychological and emotional effects promoted by our present-day brand of capitalism -- in short, how our material conditions shape us and define us.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Would loved to have read this in a (plain) English translation