Formisano merits attention for providing even-handed perspective on and clarifying misconceptions about America’s recent political phenomenon... The author makes valuable clarifications: the Tea Party and the religious right are not synonymous, and there are factional disputes... His most trenchant observation might have emerged from a Pirandello play: 'Its partisans and critics alike, as if reading tea leaves, often see in it what they wish to see.' within.
Formisano examines the conditions that gave birth to the Tea Party and whether it is genuinely grassroots or directed by corporate interests and billionaires. A helpful primer on a movement that is changing the American political landscape.
(Vanessa Bush Booklist
Written in a brisk, journalistic fashion, this informative book is an excellent snapshot of the Tea Party as it seeks to make further inroads in the political arena.
Formisano is a highly respected authority on the history of populist movements. In an evenhanded way he writes of the origins of the Tea Party or Tea Parties (there are many competing factions), in resentments against so-called 'elites,' and various alliances and rejections at the grass roots.
One of the most orderly presentations of this recent history I have read... Take a few hours in the waning days of summer to read The Tea Party: A Brief History so that you can explain to your students why the Paul Ryan candidacy is history in the making.
(Claire Potter Tenured Radical, Chronicle of Higher Education
A fine and easy introduction to a brand new party and its concepts, recommended for any general collection strong in American history and politics.
(Midwest Book Review
A succinct but enlightening history of the Tea Party in the US.
Ron Formisano dons a pair of fine historical lenses to read the tea leaves of the reactionary populism that has become an undeniable political force in 21st-century America. This is a lucid and intelligently constructed primer on the coalition of Americans longing and lobbying for (far too) simple answers to complicated questions. He gets it just right.
About the Author
Ronald P. Formisano is the William T. Bryan Chair of American History at the University of Kentucky. His most recent book is For the People: American Populist Movements from the Revolution to the 1850s.