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The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics: The Personalities, Elections, and Events That Shaped Modern North Carolina Hardcover – April 21, 2008

10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0807831892 ISBN-10: 0807831891 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Lively and well crafted. . . . A valuable study of an important aspect of the state's history, accessible for both general and scholarly audiences."--The Journal of Southern History


"Christensen . . . has a nice touch for writing about the characters (and sometimes the rogues) who have populated N.C. politics over the years."--Jack Betts, The Charlotte Observer


"A lively account of history [that] includes eyebrow-raising facts."--Fayetteville Observer


"A romp through 100 years of North Carolina politics. . . . Help[s] readers understand the conflicts and contradictions that define North Carolina to this day."--Greensboro News and Record


"Hotter and slicker than a politician's handshake at a pig pickin' in July."--Marcy Smith, Raleigh News & Observer


"Presents the pivotal figures and elections of North Carolina's twentieth-century politics in an entertaining and insightful fashion. . . . Christensen's panoramic picture of the state's modern politics is much more than fascinating."--North Carolina H

"Christensen has written a terrific . . . history here, one that is very readable and absolutely jammed full of facts, figures, and anecdotes. . . . [He] lay[s] the historical basis for North Carolina politics as they exist today."--Winston-Salem Journ

"Fascinating. . . . Christensen is a keen observer and first-rate storyteller. . . . Whether you're a native or a newcomer, Christensen's book will tell you things you didn't know about the people and forces behind [North Carolina's] astonishing transform

"The well-told story of North Carolina's 20th-century political dynasties forged by patronage, cronyism, kickbacks, fraud, character assassination and the high art of stealing elections honorably. . . . Christensen succeeds where most political historians

"The book is a gem. The analysis and storytelling are first-rate. You learn a lot from this book and have fun doing it. . . . Christensen has spent his professional life observing, probing and writing about the state's political life, meeting the highest

Book Description

"Informative, delightful and entertaining. . . . Suspend[s] [the reader] in the beauty, density, and sacred precision that history demands."--Wake County Physician
|"Christensen thoroughly covers his topic and lets the North Carolina high-office seekers reflect the mass organizing that occurred for civil rights, union rights, and education throughout the country."--Foreword Magazine
|"An engaging account of the past that led to the current state of North Carolina politics. . . . Chronicles the contrasts and changes and political twists and turns clearly within the historical context. . . . Lays a solid foundation for understanding the state's present politics. Long-time political observers and apolitical newcomers to the state can benefit from reading it. Happily, with its emphasis on political personalities, it reads as easily as a good novel."--Metro Magazine
|"Drawing on more than thirty years of reporting experience, Rob Christensen combines firsthand analysis of modern politics with a well-researched look at the past. Beginning at the turn of the twentieth century, when North Carolina was a racially charged one-party state, The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics profiles an electorate that has embraced both center-left progressives and Bible Belt conservatives, while never fully swearing off the divisive politics of the past."--Adam Hochberg, correspondent, National Public Radio
|"Rob Christensen's study of North Carolina politics provides all the necessary reference points for those who wish to understand the political forces that shaped the state in the twentieth century. This book is more than issues and events, however. It is an encyclopedic biographical reference of the people whose electoral success, achievements, and misadventures have long confounded those seeking to properly place North Carolina on the political spectrum."--Howard E. Covington Jr., coeditor of The North Carolina Century: Tar Heels Who Made a Difference, 1900-2000

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (April 21, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807831891
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807831892
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #198,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Herbert W. Stanford III on June 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been interested in North Carolina politics for years and I found this to be one of the best books I've read on North Carolina's political history. I was especially impressed by the coverage of the white supremacist politics in the state in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (including the overthrow of a legally elected government in Wilmington by white supremacists) that ultimately resulted in the rise of the homophobic, bigoted Jesse Helms to U.S. Senator. Helms "creation" of the modern Republican Party in the state by melding the historically moderate Republicans of North Carolina's mountain region with the break-away right-wing of the Democratic Party in the central and eastern parts of the state changed politics in North Carolina dramatically after 1980.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By O. Max Gardner III on April 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics: The Personalities, Elections, and Events That Shaped Modern North CarolinaThis is a wonderful read by one of the best newspaper reporters in the State. I would highly recommend the book to anyone who has an interest in the history of modern day politics in North Carolina.

O. Max Gardner III
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey H. Sykes on July 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In "The Paradox of Tarheel Politics", veteran reporter Rob Christensen, of the Raleigh News and Observer, provides a stellar addition to the pantheon of North Carolina political works.

This book is a must read for any politician, journalist, activist, observer or just plain interested party. Christensen deserves a medal for making the subject matter approachable to the layman. As an historical work, the book ranks among the most active and engaging stories in recent memory.

Perhaps a testament to the editors Christensen has had in his career, the prose is engaging and full of energy. There is hardly a weak spot in the entire book. Whether the reader is on vacation with hours on end or a casual nighttime bookworm reading a few pages a night, "The Paradox of Tarheel Politics" is sure to capture and hold their attention.

Read the full review at my personal website, or via this link:

[...]
Jeffrey Sykes
[...]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Surles on April 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I was quite interested in this book. Although North Carolinians are educated in elementary school about the history of the state, I learned things I never knew. And his interpretation of the recent history of North Carolina in the hands of the businesses that had so much impact on the politics of the state were fascinating. An excellent read.
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Some years ago, I was re-united with a friend who had been a classmate of mine from elementary school through junior high in Robeson County, North Carolina. His family moved to the neighboring Scotland County where he completed high school and graduated from Scotland High and Duke on an AB Duke scholarship. In those days, Laurinburg, North Carolina was divided with the numbered streets mostly being East Laurinburg addresses vs. Laurinburg addresses, and many of the people in East Laurinburg, lived in mill houses as is typical of many North Carolina towns. Unwittingly to him, my friend made a slur about East Laurinburg stating: "Nothing good ever came out of East Laurinburg." Quickly off the top of my head, I remarked, a local doctor that we both knew was from East Laurinburg, my dad, a very successful business man was from East Laurinburg, and the President of his University at Duke was from East Laurinburg and his mother, a school teacher in Scotland County, still living in that area. This friend is now a minister now, and I don't think he has ever made that mistake again.

More recently, I was verbally attacked on a social network page by a young woman. I still have no idea as to why she made the comments she did, and why they were directed at me. I started to reply with a comment that Winston Churchill is said to have made to Lady Astor, and then I was caught by her surname. When you grow up in North Carolina and lived through the 50's and 60's (or any other era), there are colloquialisms which still exist in almost everyone of the 100 North Carolina counties that are "give aways" as to where you are from in the state, that regardless of experiences and education, that just sometimes "slip through.
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