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Still Seeing Red: How The Cold War Shapes The New American Politics (Transforming American Politics) Paperback – September 25, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The first reaction to this work might be, "Another book on the Cold War?" But White (politics, Catholic Univ. of America) adds new features to this well-known landscape. Building on his The Fractured Electorate (1980) and The New Politics of Old Values (Univ. Pr. of New England, 1990. 2d ed.), he makes his main point: that domestic politics since 1945 was shaped by America's enmity toward the USSR and its Communist system. What makes White's book a little better than most is that he artfully weaves into his story numerous polls conducted during the Cold War consistently revealing that most Americans applauded a tough approach to the Soviets and that both political parties competed strenuously for the title of tougher on the Commies. With the Cold War over, White points out that the United States has no obvious enemy, which has led, he believes, to increased domestic acrimony. This thoughtful critique of how foreign affairs can dictate domestic politics is recommended for academic and larger public libraries.?Edward Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

A thorough and thoughtful study, but not the one suggested by the title. White (Politics/Catholic Univ.) provides an excellent political history of the Cold War era, with painstaking research supporting a well-written, intelligent presentation of rather familiar material. Certainly, no one will dispute his assessment of the Cold War's impact on domestic politics in the 1950s80s: Republicans were the primary beneficiaries because they were able to paint liberals as soft on communism, and Cold War concerns and rhetoric invaded the discussion of every political issue. But the focus suggested by the book's subtitle, on the impact of Cold War politics on the postCold War era, is largely absent. White's examination of this era follows from a foray into the most picked- over subject of political research, the evolution of contemporary political parties. His conclusions are sensible and, again, familiar: A party system with meaningful, programmatic parties has disappeared; presidential campaigns have come to focus on character rather than issues; presidential contests are now fought over the corpse of the Republican rather than the Democratic party; presidential and congressional elections have become increasingly separated in their focus and results. These observations constitute solid historical description, but as political analysis they fall prey to a common dilemma. While it is unavoidably the case--and consequently of limited interest--that an era will shape its successor, determining how it does so requires identifying causal relationships between the two eras. White's work is suggestive but ends at a good place to start. An explanation of how and why we are ``still seeing red,'' rather than a summary of the ways that we are, would have been more welcome and original. Talented author, mistargeted effort. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Transforming American Politics
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Westview Press; Exp Upd edition (September 25, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813318890
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813318899
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,723,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. L. Huff on July 29, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Professor White (an ironic name of author, for those who know their Russian civil war) has written an overall good account of American cultural and political perceptions during the cold war. The thoroughness of his research gives him the four stars, but the fifth is withheld because, I feel, his focus is much too narrow. Instead of the cold war shaping American values, a broader glance at the historical record shows that it was American values that shaped the cold war.

There is a straight line of continuity from McCarthyism to the Red Scare of 1920, and beyond that to the anti-IWW scare prior to WWI and the anti-anarchist craze in the wake of the Chicago Haymarket bombing of 1886. Linked to the anti-radical rhetoric were not only powerful business interests and their militant anti-labor stand, but even longer currents of anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic Know-Nothingism - as well as perennial racism and white supremacy.

Thus Professor White also does not dig deeper analytically, to ask WHY America is anti-Communist. He is content to take the formulation of "liberal American values" vs. Communist totalitarianism pretty much at face value. Those of us who lived through the period will agree, like it or not, that despite the liberal rhetoric anti-Communism served to protect deeply conservative, even reactionary values. Like "anti-terrorism" now, with its Patriot Act, anti-Communism served to criminalize dissent. Thus Martin Luther King could be seriously branded a "Communist agent" by the supreme national policeman, J. Edgar Hoover; or anti-war protestors were labeled "un-American traitors" for disagreeing with their government; or Nazi collaborators from Eastern Europe could find shelter in the U.S.
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Still Seeing Red: How The Cold War Shapes The New American Politics (Transforming American Politics)
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