Title Divided Politics, Divided Nation
Subtitle Hyperconflict in the Trump Era
Author Darrell M. West
ISBN 9780815737858
List price USD 22.99
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Paperback
No of pages 236
Book size 153 x 229 mm
Publishing year 2019
Original publisher Brookings Institution Press
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
Status New Arrival
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“At a time of widespread polarization, it is vital to understand why liberals and conservatives mistrust one another. Darrell West draws on his personal history of growing up in a conservative community and teaching in the Ivy League to write a heartfelt account of America’s tribes and how we might bring them back together. Readers will gain tremendous understanding of contemporary divisions from the entertaining stories he tells.”

George Stephanopoulos, ABC News


“What divides our nation goes much deeper than politics. Brookings Institution scholar Darrell West looks at polarization from the high altitude of elite academia, and the ground-level perspective of his own life, which began in a conservative, deeply religious rural community. Along the way, he discovers surprising insights about life in conservative and liberal America.”

Karen TumultyThe Washington Post


“Lots of Americans correctly worry about deepening polarization in our politics, but few seem to know what to do about it. Darrell West is an exception; he’s lived in both Red and Blue worlds, understands both, and sprinkles his book with very personal stories that enliven his narrative. West first thoughtfully analyzes how we got to such a disturbing divide and then makes some useful suggestions for dealing with it. It’s time to think carefully and map out a way forward. Darrell West has already begun that cartography in this perceptive, readable volume.”

Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and professor of Politics at the University of Virginia


“A riveting account, part memoir and part analysis, that explains how we descended into our current social and political quagmire and gives helpful suggestions for finding our way out.”

Bart Ehrman, James A Gray Distinguished Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


“A valued, insightful, thoughtful and thought-provoking contribution to our current and on-going political discussion with respect to the polarization of the electorate and its implications for the survival of our American style democracy.”

Midwest Book Review


Why are Americans so angry with each other?

The United States is caught in a partisan hyperconflict that divides politicians, communities—and even families. Politicians from the president to state and local office-holders play to strongly-held beliefs and sometimes even pour fuel on the resulting inferno. This polarization has become so intense that many people no longer trust anyone from a differing perspective.

Drawing on his personal story of growing up as a fundamentalist Christian on a dairy farm in rural Ohio, then as an academic in the heart of the liberal East Coast establishment, Darrell West analyzes the economic, cultural, and political aspects of polarization. He takes advantage of his experiences inside both conservative and liberal camps to explain the views of each side and offer insights into why each is angry with the other.

West argues that societal tensions have metastasized into a dangerous tribalism that seriously threatens U.S. democracy. Unless people can bridge these divisions and forge a new path forward, it will be impossible to work together, maintain a functioning democracy, and solve the country’s pressing policy problems.


Preface: Upheaval


Chapter One: Mistrust The Reagan Revolution • The Clinton Period • Bush and the War on Terror • The Obama Years • Shock and Awe under Trump

Chapter Two: Economic Frustrations • The Decline of Agriculture • Lost Manufacturing Jobs • Wage Stagnation and Inequality • A Rise in Public Anger

Chapter Three: The Decline of Opportunity • Growing Up Poor • Advancement through Education • Obstacles for the Current Generation • Destruction of the American Dream

Chapter Four: Identity Politics • Conservative Tribalism • Liberal Tribalism • Power Tribalism • Mistrusting Other Tribes

Chapter Five: Religious Tensions • Fundamentalism • Secularization • Religious Exemptions

Chapter Six: The Backlash against Globalization and Immigration • Opening Borders • Cross-Cultural Tensions • Tough Enforcement • Ultranationalism

Chapter Seven: Undue Influence • Overt Corruption • College Admissions • Philanthropy

Chapter Eight: Overcoming Hyperconflict • Widespread Polarization • Diverging Identities • Mistrust and Intolerance • Opponents as Enemies • Political Sorting • The Decline of Facts • Reconciling Differences • Take a Conservative or Liberal to Lunch





About the Author:

Darrell M. West is vice president and director of Governance Studies and holds the Douglas Dillon Chair. He is founding director of the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings and Editor-in-Chief of TechTank. His current research focuses on artificial intelligence, robotics, and the future of work. West is also director of the John Hazen White Manufacturing Initiative. Prior to coming to Brookings, he was the John Hazen White Professor of Political Science and Public Policy and Director of the Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University.

West is the author or co-author of 24 books including Divided Politics, Divided Nation (Brookings Institution Press, 2019) The Future of Work: Robots, AI, and Automation (Brookings Institution Press, 2018), Megachange: Economic Disruption, Political Upheaval, and Social Strife in the 21st Century (Brookings Institution Press, 2016), Going Mobile: How Wireless Technology is Reshaping Our Lives (Brookings Institution Press, 2015), Billionaires: Reflections on the Upper Crust (Brookings Institution Press, 2014), Digital Schools: How Technology Can Transform Education (Brookings, 2012), The Next Wave: Using Digital Technology to Further Social and Political Innovation (Brookings, 2011), Brain Gain: Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy (Brookings, 2010), Digital Medicine: Health Care in the Internet Era (Brookings, 2009), Digital Government: Technology and Public Sector Performance, (Princeton University Press, 2005), Air Wars: Television Advertising in Election Campaigns (Congressional Quarterly Press, 2005), Cross Talk: Citizens, Candidates, and the Media in a Presidential Campaign (University of Chicago Press, 1996) The Sound of Money: How Political Interests Get What They Want (W. W. Norton, 1998), Biotechnology Policy Across National Boundaries (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), and Patrick Kennedy: The Rise to Power (Prentice-Hall, 2000), among others. He is the winner of the American Political Science Association’s Don K. Price award for best book on technology (for Digital Government) and the American Political Science Association’s Doris Graber award for best book on political communications (for Cross Talk). He has published more than three dozen scholarly articles in a wide range of academic journals. In 2014, he was honored by Public Administration Review for having written one of the 75 most influential articles since 1940. This was for his article “E-Government and the Transformation of Service Delivery and Citizen Attitudes.”

The Brookings Center for Technology Innovation that West directs examines a wide range of topics related to technology innovation including governance, democracy, and public sector innovation; health information technology; virtual education, and green technology. Its mission is to identify key developments in technology innovation, undertake cutting-edge research, disseminate best practices broadly, inform policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels about actions needed to improve innovation, and enhance the public’s and media’s understanding of technology innovation.

Target Audience:

This book is useful for people interested in political discussion with respect to the polarization of the electorate and its implications for the survival of American style democracy.


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