An excellent description of how the US went from centrist politics to polarized politics. It describes the historical changes, and the mechanism of the cause--that political elites have become polarized. Once the elites polarized, the electorate followed. There are many interesting observations about voter behaviour, such as how people tend to pick a party and then change their ideology--their stand on issues, to match the party line.
This book is well written and extremely well researched and documented. The reason I gave it only 4 stars is because it didn't get at what I consider the underlying cause, that is why elites themselves have polarized. Clearly this is due to the increasing influence of interest groups. There was little if any mention of interest groups. My other gripe is ideology was treated as a coherent choice between liberal and conservative when in fact they, like parties, are groups of issues that don't necessary go together, except in a world where everything has to be simplified to sound bites.
Typical Academic Drivel. No meaning except some poor schmuck in a PhD program thought he was smart by looking at modern America and thought he knew what Democracy is, it is getting quite concerning that people keep stating US is an "Democracy". They need to read Polybius, Cicero, etc for starters before they continue publishing this style of dishonest writing.
I have not read the book in its entirety, rather I put it down after two chapters. I was hoping to get a book that described in a historical fashion the manner in which there were liberal republicans and more conservative democrats as recently as the 70's and an account of why this happened, who were the key individuals and processes involved, and what the time scale of the almost perfect sorting. Instead, the book seemed to me be a more theoretical political scientific account of the psychological processes that people go through when their own political thinking does not conform to the thinking of their party leaders, etc. Maybe if I read past the first two chapters, but that was not my impression from scanning the rest of the book and reading the table of contents more closely.