Our Divided Political Heart Summary and Reviews

Our Divided Political Heart

The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent

by E.J. Dionne

Our Divided Political Heart by E.J. Dionne X
Our Divided Political Heart by E.J. Dionne

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Book Summary

Our Divided Political Heart will be the must-read book of the 2012 election campaign. Offering an incisive analysis of how hyper-individualism is poisoning the nation's political atmosphere, E. J. Dionne Jr. argues that Americans can't agree on who we are because we can't agree on who we've been, or what it is, philosophically and spiritually, that makes us Americans. Dionne takes on the Tea Party's distortions of American history and shows that the true American tradition points not to radical individualism, but to a balance between our love of individualism and our devotion to community.

Dionne offers both a fascinating tour of American history - from the Founding Fathers to Clay and Lincoln and on to the Populists, the Progressives and the New Dealers - and also an analysis of our current politics that shatters conventional wisdom. The true American idea, far from endorsing government inaction or indifference, has always viewed the federal government as an active and constructive partner with the rest of society in promoting prosperity, opportunity, and American greatness.

The ability of the American system to self-correct is its greatest asset and Dionne challenges progressives to embrace the American story. Our fractious but productive past offers us the resources both to rediscover the idea of progress and to put an end to our fears of decline. Our Divided Political Heart will be required reading for all who seek a path out of our current impasse.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[Dionne's] extensive knowledge of Washington allows him to ably illustrate our remarkable political history, and he renews our hope that cooler heads can prevail with a renewed balance of individual rights and the needs of the community." - Kirkus Reviews

"[A] much-needed fact-based review of the Constitution, a realistic portrait of its creators, and a balanced history of the ongoing friction in the American psyche ... Tea Partiers and Occupiers alike may be surprised and enlightened by this lucid analysis, all the more convincing for its sympathetic treatment of both sides of the argument." - Publishers Weekly

"Our Divided Political Heart recalls us to an American past that speaks powerfully, and hopefully, to our present political travails. Every citizen concerned about the state of our politics should read this book." - Michael J. Sandel, author of Justice

"This is a brilliant book about America's current political divide. But more importantly, it's an insightful exploration of our nation's history and our ability to balance individualism with community. That sense of balance has been lost, and this book shows how we can restore a shared appreciation for our historic values." - Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs and Benjamin Franklin

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More Information

E. J. Dionne Jr. is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a columnist for the Washington Post, and University Professor in the Foundations of Democracy and Culture at Georgetown University. He appears weekly on NPR and regularly on MSNBC and NBC's Meet the Press. His twice-weekly op-ed column is now syndicated in 140 newspapers. His writing has been published in The Atlantic, The New Republic, The American Prospect, The Washington Post Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Commonweal, New Statesman, and elsewhere. He is the author, editor, or co-editor of numerous books, including the classic bestseller Why Americans Hate Politics, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was nominated for the National Book Award. His most recent book is Souled Out. Dionne lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with wife, Mary Boyle, and their three children.

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