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The Rise of Southern Republicans First Edition

10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0674007284
ISBN-10: 067400728X
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The South's political identity has been transformed in the last half-century from a region of Democratic hegemony to a region of Republican majority. Earl and Merle Black, political science professors at Rice and Emory universities, respectively (and coauthors of Politics and Society in the South), sedulously examine this remarkable change. The Blacks first explain the historical circumstances that made the Southern Democratic Party virtually invincible until the 1960s and then analyze, decade by decade, the cultural, demographic and political events that eroded Democratic advantages and made a competitive Republican Southern strategy viable. Their analysis is based on data from an exhaustive, sometimes overwhelmingly dense, study of Southern congressional races that evaluates voting patterns according to candidates' liberal or conservative positions, and by voters' gender, race, party affiliation and political philosophy. Wisely, the Blacks also provide numerous graphs and charts that help readers make sense of their complex, statistically driven research. In the end, the authors produce a richly detailed and astute picture of the forces that combined to change the Southern political balance. They also predict that the South is likely to remain a highly competitive political battleground in which both Democrats and Republicans can prosper depending on local demographics, the appeal of particular candidates and national events. This is a work of serious scholarship that lacks any hint of partisan purpose. Committed readers will increase their understanding of both Southern and national politics. The Blacks' effort may well be the definitive statement on Southern politics over the 20th century.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The conservative Democratic Party that reigned throughout the South from the 1930s through the 1970s has been replaced by a highly competitive two-party system, conclude the Blacks (The Vital South: How Presidents Are Elected). These two leading scholars of Southern politics present a rigorous investigation of how voting in the peripheral South (Florida, Arkansas, Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee) and the Deep South (Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina) was realigned since Ronald Reagan was first elected president in 1980. Reagan's call for lower taxes and reduced government spending appealed to Southern whites while alienating African Americans. The Republican Party experienced a successful surge in local elections during the 1990s because of the Reagan ripple effect, congressional reapportionment that no longer automatically favored Democrats, and vigorous Republican campaigns that made the Southern Republican party a force to be reckoned with. General readers may find the lengthy sections on election results tedious, but specialists will find this a most useful exploration of the evolution of Southern politics. Strongly recommended for academic libraries with strong collections in Southern politics and voting behavior. Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Belknap Press; First edition (April 22, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067400728X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674007284
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,757,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By M.R.Hoksbergen on August 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The Black Bros. did it again: they wrote an excellent book on the history of ALL southern politics, not just republicanism, in a very neutral fashion. This work is a must-have for anybody seriously interested in 20th century American politics.

Black and Black show, in plain-written text and easy-to-read graphs and tables, that the influence of the South on national politics has improved by a vast amount over the last decades. The descriptions of the republican struggle to gain popular attention in the South are exemplified by anecdotes about outstanding republican AND democratic senators and representatives on both the state and the national level.

The authors are right in stating that the past rise of southern republicans can not just be drawn into the near future. Nothing is more unpredictable than politics and voter behavior. However, the Blacks show that the South indeed has won a position in the center of American politics and that southern political trends and events are more important now than ever before.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Christy Woodward Kaupert on May 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book provides readers a wonderful example of just what political scientists are SUPPOSED to be doing. Certainly, we write for one another, but in terms of books; one must be mindful of the amateur who might read your work. The Black brothers make a wonderful team and deserve much credit for reexamining Kevin Phillips' work in 1968 "The Emerging Republican Majority" however; this reader notes there was a conspicuous absence of Phillips' name in the text. To not mention him A SINGLE time in those 400 plus pages represents a obvious omission which should be brought to their attention.
In any event; the charts and graphs were well presented and the trends appearing were nicely explained. I would comment however that the Blacks might have missed the boat on some important observations that could have been made about Florida and Texas by keeping the race question largely contained to the "black/white" paradigm. Certainly the "shell game" played by the Southern Democrats and their eventual flip to the Republican Party can be largely explained by the 1960s Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts but the demographics have definitely changed in the South and contemporary discussions of race and its impact on partisan politics must do more than allude to hispanics or asians. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a book to explore the trending of the "Solid South" toward the Republican Party this one will definitely 'draw the picture.' I thoroughly enjoyed it and even with the few shortcomings noticed by this political scientist (who wishes SHE could have written this book) their presentation of the data is "on the money!"
I would and DO highly recommend this book to my students and to those curious about the "whos, whens, whys, and hows" of the southern dealignment.
Great Job Blacks.... you have done us proud again!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Given the Republican Party's recent reaction to the Trent Lott affair, this book is an excellent retelling of the rise of the GOP in the South and its sordid dabbling in racial politics. Earl and Merle Black are two of the most thoughtful and fair observers of Southern politics, and this is some of their best work yet. Occasionally dry and overly laden with charts, the book can drag in places.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book covers extensively the history of the South over the past century. Presidential and congressional elections are explored in detail. I saw an earlier review alluding to the lack of information regarding Hispanics and Asians; however, i found that the Black brothers DO cover this information, while at the same time admitting that the black/white race issue has been one of the most dominant issues in Southern Politics in the 20th century. If, by the end of this book, you have any remaining questions about the South's role in national politics, I suggest reading the other excellent book by the Blacks, "The Vital South." between these two works, just about everything is covered. The Blacks are amazing--especially Merle!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By pvandrews on November 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Merle and Earl Black have written an easy-to-read book about the rise of the Republican Party in the South after the Democrats, who had championed white rule, began to take the lead in ensuring that blacks had access to education, transportation, housing, dining, voter registration, voting, and all the other things to which they had been denied access, or equal access, because of their race. Progress did not come easy, nor did it come without pain and even bloodshed. It took many little baby steps over many years. The struggle continues to this day. At every step, as progress was made, the Republican Party grew stronger, the Democratic Party weaker. Merle and Earl Black chronicle this story and provide their own insights, references to and quotes from other sources, and an abundance of charts, statistics, and other data to support their conclusions.
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