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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2008
It is impossible to understand the race for the presidency and the phenomenal rise of Barack Obama without understanding the new generation of voters which has been drawn to him in numbers and in ways scarcely anyone had anticipated, and some, especially those in the Clinton campaign, still can not believe. In their remarkable new book, Millenial Makeover, Winograd and Hais tell us more about what this new generation thinks and what it expects than anyone has done before or is likely to do again. Conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, if you have an interest in politics or public affairs this is a book you cannot afford not to read. I am giving it five stars, but only because I cannot give it six.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2008
Unlike most books, this one more than lives up to the hype on its jacket. Morley Winograd and Michael Hais go well beyond generational theory to help us understand not only past critical turning points in American history, but also the crucial one we're about to live through.

This is not the political punditry of "talking heads" who merely spout trendy theories without analytical substance. Rather, it is a well researched and well written review of the factors that have helped shape the Millennial Generation (1983-2003) now coming of age, together with some insightful commentary on the impact this generation is likely to have on our country and our world. In its pages the authors present both the "whys" and the "hows" in a well organized and easy-to-read discourse.

"Millennial Makeover" is not just for political junkies. If you are a concerned citizen trying to wade through the political and social cross-currents of our country, particularly in this important presidential election year, you should read this book. It left this aging Baby Boomer surprised, enlightened, fearful, smiling and cautiously optimistic about our future.

"A republic, if you can keep it." That's what Benjamin Franklin reportedly said when asked at the close of the Constitutional Convention what type of government the Framers had fashioned. "Millennial Makeover" offers a fascinating look at how this emerging tech-savvy "civic" generation might do just that.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2008
Just in time to help us understand the underlying dynamics of the 2008 presidential election--and the Obama surge--"Millenial Makeover" provides a well-documented, insightful account of why and how the next generation of voters, Millenials born during the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations, will transform American politics for decades to come. New generations, not political parties, shape the nation's political and civic landscapes--and the political party that figures this out fastest, has the best chance of winning elections.

Winograd and Hais combine "generation theory" with their own long experience in politics, survey data, and detailed observations about the unique values and expectations that Millenials bring to public affairs to shape an optimistic picture of the very near future. With most Millenials set to reach voting age in 2012, they show us this new force already at work in 2008 and moving inexorably to crowd the Baby Boomers off the political stage.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2008
Just as newspapers have shifted their primary emphasis from print to the Internet, so too has politics. The bottom-up dynamic, emblemized by user-generated content, is taking over in many spheres, and those who cling to old authoritarian top-down structures will become irrelevant.

There's more power in a user-generated video on youtube, produced at almost zero cost and gone viral, than in any traditional prepackaged million dollar TV ad campaign. Indeed, often the packaged claims are mercilessly pulled apart to great detriment to their makers by online hordes (witness Hillary's "3 AM" ad, or her claims of sniper fire) - and increasingly, the online hordes are the ones who are having the final word. (This also raises the specter of the digital divide, where only the plugged-in will recognize and understand the various waves of public opinion.)

A great move of democratization is well under way, and its pace is almost frightening. Print media can't keep up with the new newsflow. Even online news sites that do not encourage reader interactivity will wither. (These Amazon reviews were a trailblazer in creating the new interactive environment.)

This book argues two main points: that the upcoming generation has more in common with Democratic Party ideals than Republican, and that on top of that the Republicans have been late to recognize the seismic generationally- and technologically-driven shift beneath our feet.

This book will by no means be the final word on the subject. Both authors are committed Democrats, and though they strive to write without bias, it's a sure bet their theses will be answered by those on the other side of the fence. In the answering will develop a more circumspect, accurate picture - in a process mimicking the online refinement of opinion that the authors write about. Nonetheless this work lays an important foundation that the politically- and civic-minded of all persuasions would do very well to digest.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2009
The paperback edition of Millennial Makeover by Winograd and Hais is just out and for those who did not have a chance to read it when it was first published this is one of those times when the wait will have been worth it. The hardcover edition was published before the election; the paperback edition contains an afterward which contains one of the best summaries of how the new generation voted for Obama in numbers, and in places, that no one except Winograd and Hais had predicted. It should be no surprise that the New York Times has picked this as one of the ten best books of the last year. D.W.Buffa
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2008
When I heard that Morley had co-authored a new book I wondered what he was up to. I was part of the reinventing government team that Morley headed and respect him for his political insight and as a decent human being.

The book is a mile stone that shows where we are now. where we came from and where we are going. Not to often do you find a book on society and politics that is as informative and easy to read.

The the final chapters Rebuilding America's Civic Infrastructure and
Public Policy in a Millennial Era are jnspiring and are a great addition to public dialog. The comparison to our time and 1860 and 1932 is on the mark.

Now living in northern Arizona after 47 years in the DC area I can see a factor that I could not find in the book the relationship with the rapidly expanding world of nonprofits partcularly in the area of natural resource sustainability
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 14, 2008
"Millennial Makeover" presents a very interesting but not wholly convincing analysis of how politics may be shaped by the rise of the Millennials, or those born between 1982 and 2003. Relying far too much on a questionable cyclical reading of American history, Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais nonetheless demonstrate how the Millennial's embrace of new cultural attitudes and technologies will impact the political dialogue for decades to come. While the author's selective presentation of data tends to prompt far more questions than answers, the book succeeds in providing an interesting introduction to a subject that no doubt will be discussed and debated now and well into the future.

Mr. Winograd and Mr. Hais contend that American politics cycle through change about every forty years and experience a profound realignment about once every eighty years. The authors believe that these changes are typically spurred by the ideological exhaustion of prior generations and the introduction of new technologies that enable new political constituencies to form. In my view, this is problematic: critics such as David R Mayhew have pointed out that cyclical theorists are more often wrong than right; worse, as a theoretical construct, the methodology tends to close off lines of inquiry into the underlying reasons why voter preferences may be realigning, such as changes in economic or social conditions of the kind that one suspects may be operative at the present time.

Fortunately, Mr. Winograd and Mr. Hais serve up plenty of raw meat and provide insight into the Millennials that might help us form our own opinions about what the future might hold. The authors explain how blogging and peer-to-peer technologies are empowering "netroots" activism and providing alternatives to broadcast media; they go on to argue that political parties must shift from prevailing money-and-media models to decentralized organizational structures. We are shown some interesting case studies where individuals have used YouTube and MySpace to win local contests against great odds and upset the conventional wisdom. These sections of the book succeed brilliantly as they draw upon the author's decades of experience in the political arena to shed new light on how profoundly the process is changing and how American democracy might be reinvigorated.

Yet somehow, the light that Mr. Winograd and Mr. Hais shines on the Millennial generation itself appears to be diffused. For example, one must wonder if the large numbers of Millennials who currently suffer from deficient healthcare and educational services might be represented disproportionately among those who favor greater government spending; might not this constitute a cry of desperation rather than one of enlightened civility, as the authors of this book seem to suggest? Unfortunately, the author's insistence on rolling up the Millennials into a single, undifferentiated mass makes it impossible for us to know. On this point, readers might do well to consider The Dumbest Generation by Mark Bauerlein who presents the Millennials as a generation whose critical thinking skills have been stupefied by an unprecedented abundance of mind-distracting media and technological gadgetry; contrary to Mr. Winograd and Mr. Hais, Mr. Bauerlein demonstrates that the Millennials possess a diminished knowledge of civics compared to prior generations and worse, generally lack the cognitive skills needed to distinguish between true and false claims of information.

Compounding the problem is that the authors seem determined to write a palliative for the Democratic Party faithful proposing to show how its policy positions align neatly with Millennial concerns. Although a reasonable person might well agree with the authors on the wisdom of their proposals, is it not also quite plausible that a repackaging of Republican Party-style 'ownership society' proposals might serve as an equally marketable response to our current social, economic and environmental challenges? Indeed, the survey data presented about the Millennial's overly optimistic material expectations suggests that this generation has been conditioned by unprecedented levels of corporate messaging; presumably this could make Millennials susceptible to corporate greenwashing campaigns, corporate welfare solutions, and the like. Indeed, to the extent that the Obama and McCain campaigns have championed national health care policies that feature prominent roles for private insurance companies, we may well be witnessing a realignment of voter preferences that merely determines the methods by which the corporate control of our democracy is intensified. Put another way, the evidence presented suggests that the pending realignment, if it materializes, will be political but far from radical.

In any case, the authors are to be congratulated for writing a stimulating book that helps us consider how major changes might well be in the offing. I recommend the book for everyone interested in political science and contemporary events.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2008
Written a year before the 2008 election, Millenial Makeover explains why Obama's election was no fluke and was not simply a reaction to the G W Bush presidency. Rather it was a result--just one--of the most significant demographical and cultural change since the baby boom of 1946-60. The millenials are very different from the boomers and from Gen X. Read this and learn what's in store for America in the next twenty years.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2008
This is one impressive book. I just started reading it last night -- and I haven't even gotten into the youtube, myspace stuff yet. But the generational discussion is very provocative,
Everyone I know is talking about nothing else but the improbability of what has happened between Obama and Clinton. A veteran public relations operative, a survivor of many political battles, can't figure out what this movement is all about, or whether it is even healthy.
The table of contents suggests it will answer those questions as well. I can hardly wait to resume reading.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2009
This book is interesting in describing a political shift by the youngest generation of voters (Millenials). The authors make an interesting argument for how the new generation could shape politics and change it. It describes how Facebook and Youtube have changed the nature of politics, and in some cases made it possible for candidates to run for office on relatively small fundraising budget.

The main problem I had with this book is that the authors used too many generalizations in the arguments, while these were mostly stereotypes (partially, but not completely true), there were some instances when the generalizations were completely wrong.

I would give this book at least one more star if the authors had relied on better data and made better analysis, instead of resorting to gross generalizations.
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