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"Our Country is the best political book of 1990 and probably of the 1990s.
Why wait to award these prizes? The author is Michael Barone. Enough said. He has produced
a dazzling x-ray of modern American history. He arguesno, he demonstratesthat cultural
rather than economic factors usually shape our politics."George F. Will
In this rare, sweeping history, Michael Barone draws from deep within the political and social
record of modern Americafrom election returns, political polls, news reports, census extracts,
and statistical abstractsto tell the story of how the country of our parents and of our grandparents
became our country.
Barone's account of the rise of the prosperous and powerful nation which we know today points out
that the single most significant issue to dominate American politics in this century is that of who
really is an American. Gone are the vaunted battles over the distribution of wealth and income. In
their place are the powerfully rooted political battles fought between America's cultural poles: its
racial and ethnic groups, its urban liberals and small town conservatives, its state's rightists and
centrists, and ultimately also between advocates of culturally diverse positions and lifestyles.
Besides his extensive knowledge of the historical record, his portrayal of individual participantsfrom
FDR and Ronald Reagan through labor leader John L. Sullivan and civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph
adds color and dimension to the narrative as it moves into contemporary times.
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