What's the Matter with Kansas? and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $17.00
  • Save: $3.87 (23%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
What's the Matter with Ka... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Eligible for Amazon's FREE Super Saver/Prime Shipping, 24/7 Customer Service, and package tracking. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America Paperback – April 14, 2005


See all 11 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback, April 14, 2005
$13.13
$3.74 $0.01
Take%20an%20Extra%2030%25%20Off%20Any%20Book

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more.

  • Get a $100 Amazon.com Gift Card: Get the Discover it card and get a $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card* after your first purchase within 3 months. Learn more.

Frequently Bought Together

What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America + The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Ruined Government, Enriched Themselves, and Beggared the Nation
Price for both: $22.94

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; Reprint edition (April 14, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080507774X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805077742
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (450 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The largely blue collar citizens of Kansas can be counted upon to be a "red" state in any election, voting solidly Republican and possessing a deep animosity toward the left. This, according to author Thomas Frank, is a pretty self-defeating phenomenon, given that the policies of the Republican Party benefit the wealthy and powerful at the great expense of the average worker. According to Frank, the conservative establishment has tricked Kansans, playing up the emotional touchstones of conservatism and perpetuating a sense of a vast liberal empire out to crush traditional values while barely ever discussing the Republicans' actual economic policies and what they mean to the working class. Thus the pro-life Kansas factory worker who listens to Rush Limbaugh will repeatedly vote for the party that is less likely to protect his safety, less likely to protect his job, and less likely to benefit him economically. To much of America, Kansas is an abstract, "where Dorothy wants to return. Where Superman grew up." But Frank, a native Kansan, separates reality from myth in What's the Matter with Kansas and tells the state's socio-political history from its early days as a hotbed of leftist activism to a state so entrenched in conservatism that the only political division remaining is between the moderate and more-extreme right wings of the same party. Frank, the founding editor of The Baffler and a contributor to Harper's and The Nation, knows the state and its people. He even includes his own history as a young conservative idealist turned disenchanted college Republican, and his first-hand experience, combined with a sharp wit and thorough reasoning, makes his book more credible than the elites of either the left and right who claim to understand Kansas. --John Moe --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From The New Yorker

Kansas, once home to farmers who marched against "money power," is now solidly Republican. In Frank's scathing and high-spirited polemic, this fact is not just "the mystery of Kansas" but "the mystery of America." Dismissing much of the received punditry about the red-blue divide, Frank argues that the problem is the "systematic erasure of the economic" from discussions of class and its replacement with a notion of "authenticity," whereby "there is no bad economic turn a conservative cannot do unto his buddy in the working class, as long as cultural solidarity has been cemented over a beer." The leaders of this backlash, by focussing on cultural issues in which victory is probably impossible (abortion, "filth" on TV), feed their base's sense of grievance, abetted, Frank believes, by a "criminally stupid" Democratic strategy of triangulation. Liberals do not need to know more about nascar; they need to talk more about money and class.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker

Important Information

Ingredients
Example Ingredients

Directions
Example Directions

More About the Author

Founding editor of The Baffler, Thomas Frank is the author of One Market Under God, The Conquest of Cool and What's the Matter With America? He is also a contributor to Harper's, The Nation, and the New York Times op-ed pages.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

278 of 310 people found the following review helpful By Steve Koss VINE VOICE on July 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In his book 1984, George Orwell described the state of perpetual war in his fictional future society by saying that the war wasn't meant to be won, it was only meant to be continuous. In WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS?, Thomas Frank illustrates how, and how effectively, the neoconservative right has implemented Orwell's concepts via a neverending war over culture and values.
Using his home state of Kansas as the model and focal point, Frank asks rhetorically why it is that Kansans so willingly espouse right-wing social issues (creationism, defunding public schools, prayer in schools, pro-life) while simultaneously allowing their state to become economically devastated by Republican free market policies of unfettered, unregulated capitalism. In other words, why do Kansans (and many other Red Staters) vote consistently against their pocketbooks, against their own economic self-interest?
With great specificity, Frank illustrates these behaviors and their devastating economic consequences by describing individuals and communities in Kansas. These are some of the strongest parts of his book, since they demonstrate through real people and real towns how life has changed, and continues to change, under Republican conservative rule. If anything, Frank could use more of these examples, particularly more description of some of the small towns and communities in his state that are dying a slow and tortured economic death. Regardless, the examples given convey the sense that Kansans are voting Red even as they vote themselves economically dead.
Frank correctly ascribes this seemingly self-contradictory behavior to the idea that Conservatives have discovered a means to incite permanent "backlash" among the Red Staters through culture wars.
Read more ›
9 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
143 of 164 people found the following review helpful By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the most insightful analyses of the contemporary political scene in the United States that I have read. I am writing this on the morning following a presidential election whose outcome is probably going to baffle a host of well informed, issue-oriented Americans for sometime. Thomas Frank, however, provides marvelous keys for understanding what has transpired, and also should provide some warnings to Democrats concerning how the political landscape has been transformed in recent decades.

Frank wants to explain a dilemma. On the one hand, the Republican Party has embraced a set of policies and enacted a wide range of legislation that hurts most Americans economically and provides a benefit to only a very small segment of the American population. Statistics provided by the Fed and the IRS have documented over the past twenty-five years a sharp and dramatic concentration of wealth in the upper one percent of the population. For instance, in 1979 20% of the national wealth as defined by the Federal Reserve was concentrated in the top 1%, while in 1997 39% was, and with the three rounds of Bush tax cuts focused on primarily benefiting the wealth and our largest corporations, it is not hard to imagine that that figure might have climbed to 45% or higher. And yet Americans continue to vote for members of a party that seems to be dedicated to intensifying that trend (a large number in the GOP are now talking about a national sales tax and eliminating the income tax-as opposed to Europe, which has a value added tax but also a tax on the wealthy, which is not what is being suggested here-which would dramatically increase this shift of wealth away from the middle class). How is this possible?
Read more ›
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
80 of 90 people found the following review helpful By C. Catherwood on August 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is by far the best of the countless books written on the Culture Wars in recent years, explaining as it does the paradox that poor people vote overwhelmingly, in many parts of the USA, for the party of big business and against their own economic interests. Being from Britain, where there are many pro-life Labour MPs and many pro-choice Conservative/Thatcherite MPs, I am always puzzled by the way in which culture so dominates the voting patterns of Americans, in a way that is simply not the case in the United Kingdom. This book explains why, and while its author is clearly a Democrat, this is a work sufficiently lacking in vitriol (at last!) that Republicans might enjoy it as well. Read it and understand what is going on in the Culture Wars in the USA and why formerly Socialist Kansas might be voting Republican this fall. Christopher Catherwood (author of CHURCHILL'S FOLLY: HOW WINSTON CHURCHILL CREATED MODERN IRAQ: Carroll and Graf 2004)
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
670 of 798 people found the following review helpful By Celia Bruno on July 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It's very interesting to see the book's detractors on this forum, many of whom have clearly not read it, saying *exactly* the things Frank predicts they will, as if from a familiar, shopworn script.
I agree with the reviewer who said that the key to this problem is that many of these voters have been convinced that social issues are more important than economic ones. Contrary to what others have insinuated, it's not that these individuals disagree with progressives on economic issues, but that they are goaded into thinking that whether they are able to own an AK-47 is more important than whether they will be able to afford a life-saving operation for their sick child. A healthy, well-educated child will grow up empowered and less likely to want or need that AK-47, and that's the connection that is critical, but difficult, to make.
Frank implies the answer to this problem while not tackling it explicitly. It is combatting the anti-intellectual, anti- "elitist" rhetoric, repeated again and again and drummed into the brain, that soon overshadows everything else. We can see it aped right here in this forum, by people who think that living in the Northeast or buying a hybrid car automatically makes you an elite, while the true elites undermine others' ability to make it on a level playing field and then laugh all the way to the bank. It is not about big vs. small government, it is about government (of whatever size) privileging the haves at the expense of the have nots.
Excellent, thoughtful, insightful book.
7 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews