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Divided America: The Ferocious Power Struggle in American Politics Hardcover – March 20, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (March 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743262069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743262064
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,156,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Politics by the numbers is the modus operandi of the Black brothers, twins who teach political science (Earl at Rice University, Merle at Emory University). Having focused on politics in the Southern states in three previous academic collaborations, the Blacks now divide the United States into five regions (South, Northeast, Pacific Coast, Midwest, Mountains/Plains), and explain how and why national electoral politics have become a close contest between two parties, Democrats and Republicans, that cannot claim permanent majority status. Most of the election data they examine comes from presidential elections; their analysis of races for the House of Representatives and the Senate come toward the end and are out of kilter with the results of the November 2006 House and Senate elections. Still, the Blacks' generalizations deserve consideration. They believe the Democrats are quite likely to retain advantages in the Northeast and Pacific Coast regions, while the Republicans are quite likely to win the South and Mountains/Plains regions in the 2008 election. That leaves the Midwest as the swing region. (The Blacks define the Midwest as 10 states, including Kentucky and West Virginia.) Though the book will probably fascinate politics junkies, the emphasis on statistics rather than lively anecdotes means rough going for qualitative rather than quantitative minds. 34 charts and tables. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Recent presidential elections clearly show that the U.S. has no national political consensus. Instead, regional politics are cobbled together to produce a tentative consensus that barely holds until the next election, leaving Democrats and Republicans locked in a power struggle. The Blacks, twin brothers and professors at Emory and Rice, examine how regional differences account for the swings in national politics. Dividing the nation into five regions--Northeast, South, Midwest, Mountains/Plains, and Pacific Coast--the Blacks explore the social and cultural trends of the past 50 years that have shaped the regions and given them their political leanings. They also explore the factors that have contributed to the dominance of Democrats in the Northeast and Pacific Coast, Republican realignment in the Mountains/Plains and the South, and the struggle for both to dominate the Midwest. The Blacks focus on the ethnic and racial, religious and ideological differences within and among the regions that partly account for their political leanings and how those differences will continue to affect national politics for the foreseeable future. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Thomas W. Sulcer on December 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
The Black brothers, both professors of political science at different southern universities, have done an excellent job of describing one of America's current ills -- partisanship -- with excellent statistics and research.

They have hit on a major flaw with American democracy and describe it accurately. Politics has become "ideologically charged" and point out that America's "unstable power politics generates relentlessly bitter conflicts over a huge range of domestic and foreign policies and motivates activists in both parties to compete fiercely all the time." I see the venom daily -- activists from both sides cutting at each other's throats without being able to compromise. They write: "the incessant personal attacks mean that especially thick skins are necessary for America's leading politicians." They're right.

They map out partisanship: Democrats controlling the Pacific & Northeast, Republicans controlling the South and Mountain states, with the midwest up for grabs. That partisan forces are evenly balanced means "ferocious competition" as they rightly point out, leading to a "permanently competitive situation." This doesn't bode well for the future of American democracy, which requires tolerance and compromise to function effectively.

Thomas W. Sulcer
author of "The Second Constitution of the United States"
(free on web -- google title above + sulcer)
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By EnriqueW on April 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very illustrative portrait of the political battles in America. It's also an enjoyable reading from the begining to the end. Authors know what they talking about.
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17 of 27 people found the following review helpful By John S. on April 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
They had a great idea for a book on politics beyond the Reign of W, spending the past couple of years assiduously putting together a slew of statistics to back up their professional analysis of current American politics.

Then Karl Rove's brilliant strategy imploded, and the electorate turned on the administration, pretty well across the board, though with some demographics more strongly than others. So ... it's tough to extrapolate the pre-implosion data (pre-2004) to 2008 and beyond.

The book went to press after the 2006 elections, and the authors do mention the results in the Foreward. However, I'm deducting two stars: one because it reads like a college statistics thesis in large part, and another because the data is (to some extent, debateable how much) not relevant for the next political cycle.
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