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The Cousins' Wars: Religion, Politics, Civil Warfare, And The Triumph Of Anglo-America Paperback – 1999
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Political commentator Kevin Phillips (author of the 1991 bestseller The Politics of Rich and Poor) takes a break from analyzing the latest election returns with this sweeping history of Anglo-American exceptionalism. How did the political culture of Anglo-America rise "from a small Tudor kingdom to a global community and world hegemony"? asks Phillips. His answer comes in the course of studying three wars--the English Civil War, the American Revolution, and the U.S. Civil War. Phillips does not examine the military history of these conflicts, looking instead at the political, religious, economic, and sectional interests that shaped them. He makes several eye-opening observations, comparing, for instance, a "state-by-state portrait of which counties, towns, districts, or regions were loyal" during the American Revolution to "ethnoreligious maps of the modern-day Balkans." This is a hefty book (over 600 pages, not including appendices and footnotes), and while Phillips's preface is a bit self-absorbed, admirers of David Landes's The Wealth and Poverty of Nations and Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel will find much to like between its covers. --John J. Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Phillips (Arrogant Capital) is one of the most influential political analysts in America. In 1969, his The Emerging Republican Majority correctly predicted that the Republicans would become the majority party by taking control of the then Democratic South. Now, turning to the past, he offers this ambitious account of how "Anglo-America"?his term for the cultural and political axis and kinship of the U.S. and Britain?came to dominate the political, linguistic and economic shape of the world. His thesis is sweeping: a trio of wars?the English Civil War, the American Revolution and the U.S. Civil War?were a single crucible out of which a dominant Anglo-America emerged. In each of these "cousins' wars," maintains Phillips, the catalytic groups were similar: Puritans from Eastern England (East Anglia) in the 1640s; their Yankee descendants in New England in 1775 and 1860. Moreover, he argues, each of the three wars reaffirmed and spurred Anglo-America's expansionism, as well as the belief of British imperialists and American pioneers that they were God's chosen people with a manifest destiny to fulfill. Phillips emphasizes the plight of the cousins' wars' principal losers: black slaves and ex-slaves, Native Americans, the Irish. Interestingly, he counts Germans among the losers, arguing that Anglo-American ascendancy and waves of European emigration to the U.S. diminished the relative clout of German-Americans and thwarted Germany's expansionist ambitions. As in his political analyses, Phillips pays close attention to ethnic, religious, class and electoral divisions. At times, his thoroughness makes for slow, somewhat wonky going, but on balance this is a tremendously rewarding work full of startling connections and provocative syntheses. Agent, Bill Leigh.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
This is a refreshing and un-apolgetic take on Anglo-American ascendancy which contribts to the cannon of American History.
It is however, quite dense and rather academic. Not for the fans who want easy to read history. Enthralling nonetheless this book contributed to my understanding of the cultural underpinnings of our great nation.
Addendum in April: I still haven't finished the book but I have learned so much about the Scots Irish immigrants in the Appalachians. He explains why they were there and the history of their time in Ireland. As I read into the section on the Civil War, I am cross referencing with an excellent book - The Southern Cross- which tries to find out why abolitionists moving south became defenders of the slave owners. In the Southern Cross she thinks the reason was economic and social, needing the local Episcopal plantation owner's permission to meet and his seasonal feasts were the only decent meals some of the plantation workers ever had.
Phillips explains the theological defense of slavery was part of the second awakening -"the elite southern denominations" but he doesn't say what those were. I would think Episcopalian for sure, and maybe Presbyterians or Southern Baptists - I think this is where many denominations split on the issue. I know the Episcopalians split as well. When I finish the book, I'll write more.
It helps me to understand why modern Americans who are spiritual and even physical descendants of these driven, strong willed, industrious people are so willing to militarily involve themselves into the affairs of others in the quest to set them free.