Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player

FREE Shipping on orders over $35.

Used - Good | See details
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Tell the Publisher!
I'd like to read this book on Kindle

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America (Great Questions in Politics Series) (2nd Edition) [Paperback]

by Morris P. Fiorina, Samuel J. Abrams, Jeremy C. Pope
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.

Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student


Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback $23.06  
Paperback, November 19, 2005 --  
Sell Us Your Books
Get up to 80% back when you sell us your books, even if you didn't buy them at Amazon. Learn more
There is a newer edition of this item:
Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America (3rd Edition) Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America (3rd Edition) 3.8 out of 5 stars (24)
In Stock.

Book Description

November 19, 2005 0321366069 978-0321366061 2
Part of the "Great Questions in Politics" series, Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America combines polling data with a compelling narrative to debunk commonly-believed myths about American politics–particularly the claim that Americans are deeply divided in their fundamental political views. This second edition of Culture War? features a new chapter that demonstrates how the elections of 2004 reinforce the book’s argument that Americans are no more divided now than they were in the past. In addition, the text has been updated throughout to reflect data from the 2004 elections.

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

What Culture War?

Abortion, Gay Marriage, School Prayer, Gun Control


Is the nation really polarized on these hot-button moral, religious, and cultural issues?  Should we believe the media pundits and politicians who tell us that Americans are deeply divided?

No, says Morris Fiorina.  At a time when the rift between the “red” and “blue” states can seem deeper than ever, Fiorina debunks the assumption that Americans are deeply split over national issues.  He presents quite a contrary picture — that most Americans stand in the middle of the political landscape and are in general agreement even on those issues thought to be most divisive.

Poking holes in the concept of a “culture war,” Fiorina explains that the majority of Americans are both moderate and tolerant, and that their greatest concerns are leadership and security, not moral values.  Supporting his position with election data and a variety of public surveys, Fiorina concludes that the view of a divided America is simply false and that by recognizing our common ground, we have a basis for creating a more unified and moderate approach to government and politics in the near future.

A new epilogue relates the 2008 campaign and election to the general argument of the book, looking at the people and issues affecting the road to the White House in 2008, and speculating on what lies ahead for (un)polarized America.



Morris P. Fiorina is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and the Wendt Family Professor of Political Science at Stanford University.  His work has appeared in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, and he is the author of several books, including Divided Government and The New American Democracy.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Morris P. Fiorina is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Wendt Family Professor of Political Science at Stanford University. His work has appeared in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Longman; 2 edition (November 19, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321366069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321366061
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.7 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #925,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
124 of 131 people found the following review helpful
This is a very brief and tightly argued book of enormous relevance to us in 2004. It makes the following remarkable points:

1. On close inspection of individual opinions, the vast majority of the electorate in the U.S. are *moderate*, not radically polarized into liberals and conservatives. That is, most of us are, as we would like to believe, capable of thinking independently for ourselves rather than strictly along party ideological lines.

We are a _closely_divided_ nation, as reflected in the very close recent elections, however we are NOT a _*deeply*_divided_ nation. That is, we are not really a nation of two distinct warring camps and a couple of swing states as the media sometimes present it for dramatic purposes. Fiorina sugests that we are actually something close to an ambivalent nation which divides itself in poltitical matters because we have no choice when presented with highly divided options.

2. The American public has *not* become dramatically polarized even over such hot topics as abortion. Rather, relatively small differences among us have been magnified by the rhetoric used to present the issues to us.

3. The political choices we have are determined by a distinct class of politicians, party activists, and interest group leaders, who *have* become increasingly polarized over moral and religious ideology as well as economic ideology.

4. A large part of the polarization of the political class has been the result of the realignment of the South, such that republicans aligned aggressive foreign policy with hostility to the welfare state, and democrats aligned antiwar sentiment with support of those at risk.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great argument doesn't convince me December 17, 2008
This is a great book, but I'm not sure that I feel comfortable fully embracing Fiorina's thesis. Fiorina argues that the electorate is not polarized, but we perceive it to be for various reasons (Polarized politicians, political activists, most voters are moderate with few extremists in the electorate, the media blows it all out of proportion, ect.). While Fiorina makes a compelling case and provides exhaustive evidence to support his claims, as much as I want to embrace his argument, my experience begs to differ. Perhaps I tend to be around extremists from both sides of the political spectrum and my experience is different than others, but as far as I can tell my peers are just as polarized as the political community. I've never lived in blood red America, but I've met enough die hard conservatives to know that lots are out there. I've also spent the majority of my life in some of the most liberal populations in the country, so I know there's a pretty strong coalition on the other side. Fiorina states that we are "closely but not deeply divided" meaning the median voter is the most common voter. That being said, I think most moderate voters just don't care and the ones who are really active politicians tend to be extremists. That being said, I think this book is important for the entire electorate or not. Because whether America is polarized or not, I think this book will challenge readers to consider how healthy deep partisanship really is as well as to be more pragmatic in our own political views and discussions. Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Red and blue for me and you... March 24, 2005
We are using Fiorina's book as a supplementary text to the primary text book in our Introduction to Political Science course at the community college where I tutor. It helps to add dimension to the more basic exposition of the structure of government (separation of powers, federal systems, etc.) by looking at partisan and party political issues more in-depth, and more currently. This book starts with the wonderful quote from Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who once stated that all are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. Fiorina walks a fine line between opinion and fact, and does so with skill.

The book goes through the midterm elections of 2002 for its data; hopefully an update will be forthcoming soon. Still, the closely divided nature of the country is still present throughout, a roughly 50/50 nation of red states and blue states, with plenty of blue in the red, and plenty of red in the blue. This is a key understanding for Fiorina - the nation is not sharply divided or deeply divided, but rather closely divided. He points to events such as Patrick Buchanan's speech in 1992 heralding a replacement of the Cold War with the Culture War, and showing that, despite the best efforts of commentators on all sides, the typical American will still be a centrist and moderate in many respects.

The idea of a culture war is a myth, according to Fiorina. This is based on the misrepresentation of facts, or misinterpretation of such data as election results and polling data. The polarisation of America is more of an appearance or illusion brought out by statistical manipulation than a reality inherent in the system.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars good read with polls and graphs, breaks down the truth of our system
Fiorina and authors provide a detailed debunking of the culture wars taking place by the extreme political class actors in American politics. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Drewski
5.0 out of 5 stars a story of how much I love this book
I bought this book for a class I ended up loving, but even with classes you love, some of the professors can pick the worst books, this was the opposite. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Sarah Godar
5.0 out of 5 stars Good and Fast . ... ....... ... .. ..... ........ ...... ....... .....
Good and Fast . ... ....... ... .. ..... ........ ...... ....... .. ....... .... .... .. ...... ... .....
Published 16 months ago by ziadhabchi
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible
Just sloppy. Makes assertions that aren't supported or are supported by information that is cherry picked. Recommend for those looking for a good laugh
Published 17 months ago by James
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging
Culture War is a terrific read for anyone who is interested in partisan politics and the perceived divide between red and blue. Read more
Published on August 25, 2011 by L. A. Bryant
4.0 out of 5 stars Red State/Blue State
The "culture war" rhetoric recently popularized by some in the media polarizes and stereotypes Americans. Blue states are snobs. Read more
Published on December 11, 2010 by Dan Smee
5.0 out of 5 stars A good dissection of the claims that Americans are polarized...
Fiorina and his associates argue here that the American public is not polarized politically, and that cultural issues have not displaced traditional economic concerns. Read more
Published on November 5, 2010 by Arthur Digbee
4.0 out of 5 stars America Not Divided
I liked the book overall. It made arguments that were both important and backed up with a variety of statistics. Read more
Published on May 29, 2010 by A. Vaughn
5.0 out of 5 stars Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America (2nd Edition)
Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America (Great Questions in Politics Series) (2nd Edition) (Great Questions in Politics) Some say that the United States has become extremely... Read more
Published on November 16, 2008 by Michael G.
1.0 out of 5 stars I completely disagree
I have had the opportunity to live in Boston then Dallas over the last 15+ years. Politically it's like living in two seperate countries. Read more
Published on September 14, 2008 by Jame S. Boykin
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Sell a Digital Version of This Book in the Kindle Store

If you are a publisher or author and hold the digital rights to a book, you can sell a digital version of it in our Kindle Store. Learn more


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category