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The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics: The Personalities, Elections, and Events That Shaped Modern North Carolina

The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics: The Personalities, Elections, and Events That Shaped Modern North Carolina

by Rob Christensen
The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics: The Personalities, Elections, and Events That Shaped Modern North Carolina

The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics: The Personalities, Elections, and Events That Shaped Modern North Carolina

by Rob Christensen

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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 politically 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.

In this new paperback edition, Christensen provides updated coverage of recent changes in North Carolina's political landscape, including the scandals surrounding John Edwards and Mike Easley, the defeat of U.S. senator Elizabeth Dole, the election of the state's first woman governor, and voters' approval of an African American candidate for president. The book provides an overview of the run-up to the 2010 elections and explains how North Carolina has become, arguably, the most politically competitive state in the South.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807899632
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 10/04/2010
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 372
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Rob Christensen has covered North Carolina politics for thirty-seven years at the News and Observer in Raleigh.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Informative, delightful and entertaining. . . . Suspend[s] [the reader] in the beauty, density, and sacred precision that history demands.—Wake County Physician

Christensen thoroughly covers his topic and lets the North Carolina high-office seekers reflect the mass organizing that occurred for civil rights, union rights, and education throughout the country.—Foreword Magazine

An engaging account of the past that led to the current state of North Carolina politics. . . . Chronicles the contrasts and changes and political twists and turns clearly within the historical context. . . . Lays a solid foundation for understanding the state's present politics. Long-time political observers and apolitical newcomers to the state can benefit from reading it. Happily, with its emphasis on political personalities, it reads as easily as a good novel.—Metro Magazine

Drawing on more than thirty years of reporting experience, Rob Christensen combines firsthand analysis of modern politics with a well-researched look at the past. Beginning at the turn of the twentieth century, when North Carolina was a racially charged one-party state, The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics profiles an electorate that has embraced both center-left progressives and Bible Belt conservatives, while never fully swearing off the divisive politics of the past.—Adam Hochberg, correspondent, National Public Radio

Rob Christensen's study of North Carolina politics provides all the necessary reference points for those who wish to understand the political forces that shaped the state in the twentieth century. This book is more than issues and events, however. It is an encyclopedic biographical reference of the people whose electoral success, achievements, and misadventures have long confounded those seeking to properly place North Carolina on the political spectrum.—Howard E. Covington Jr., coeditor of The North Carolina Century: Tar Heels Who Made a Difference, 1900-2000

Rob Christensen takes readers on a colorful journey through the familiar and forgotten byways of North Carolina politics. Combining astute analysis with sharp character portraits, Christensen lays claim to the mantle of V. O. Key Jr. as the chief interpreter of North Carolina's modern political system.—Jeffrey J. Crow, Deputy Secretary of Archives and History, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources

Most newcomers to North Carolina (and native Tar Heels, too) wonder how the state can elect Jesse Helms and Jim Hunt or John Edwards and Elizabeth Dole at almost the same time. Rob Christensen cleaves that Gordian knot with solid historical background and the keen observations of a clear-eyed witness. Read this book!—William Price, coeditor of Discovering North Carolina: A Tar Heel Reader

This is a sweeping narrative of 100 years of North Carolina politics, filled with fascinating characters and stories and told by an experienced journalist. Even if you think you know the story of the state's twentieth-century politics, you'll be pulled in by Christensen's engaging narrative.—Ferrel Guillory, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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