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NEXT AMERICAN NATION: The New Nationalism and the Fourth American Revolution Paperback – July 5, 1996

4.2 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Michael Lind's unsettling and ambitious new book brilliantly challenges the culture-war extremists of both the right and the left, develops a sweeping reinterpretation of American history, and offers an original vision of a better American future. Even at points of disagreement, I am greatly impressed by the toughness of Lind's intellect, the breadth of his knowledge, and the decency of his aspirations for our country. This book may well prove to be the most consequential book of the year--and several years to come. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

New Republic editor Lind offers a neoliberal agenda for changing conceptions of national identity.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (July 5, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684825031
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684825038
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,341,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It is impossible to do justice to such a wide-ranging book in only a few paragraphs. Fundamentally, Lind provides a three-phase interpretation of American history. As he sees it, the U.S. has experienced three genuine "revolutions": the American Revolution which led to the era of "Anglo America" (1789-1860), the Civil War/Reconstruction which led to "Euro-America" (1876-1954) and the Civil Rights Revolution which led to "Multicultural America" (1970-present).
The book's middle chapters are a devastating critique of today's status quo. Lind finds fault across the political spectrum. "Since the 1970s ... racial preference policies, associated with the political left, have been extended into one area of American life after another ... [Meanwhile] government policies unfavorable to labor, of the kind one thinks of as conservative, have been pursued under both Republican and Democratic administrations." However, "In reality there is no contradiction between left-wing civil rights policy and right-wing economics."
Instead of threatening the system, multiculturalism is corporate America's secret weapon. In the early 1970s it was President Nixon who instituted the first great wave of affirmative action and school busing, with the intent of driving a wedge between the labor and civil rights movements. (The strategy worked.) After the 1990 census, the first Bush administration collaborated with the civil rights establishment to reapportion and create as many black and Hispanic congressional districts as possible, thereby pulling the rug out from under white Democrats in surrounding districts and making it easier for the GOP to win control of Congress in 1994. As Lind notes: "Tokenism provides suitably 'progressive' camoflauge for a system of divide-and-rule politics ...
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Format: Paperback
Every so often, I come across one of those books that really makes me think. Michael Lind's penetrating look at modern America, "The Next American Nation: The New Nationalism and the Fourth American Revolution," is one of those books. I should elaborate a bit on that statement: books that REALLY make me think are ones that I will ponder at odd times during the day, or think about as I am falling asleep at night. I usually don't do that with a mass-market paperback or the latest popular novel. No, certain books on history, society, or philosophy sometimes find me puzzling out their theses while I engage in the mundane activities of daily life. Not every book has such an effect on me, but Lind's effort did. Written nearly ten years ago, "The Next American Nation" asks questions and puts forth conclusions imbued with intelligent insight and forceful conviction. It's iconoclastic, attacking the dogmas that presently govern every facet of our society. Despite the book's age, the issues Lind addresses continue to have relevance in the here and now. The author was once an editor at Harper's and The New Republic, as well as a contributor to The New York Times and The Washington Post.
"The Next American Nation" probably falls under the category of American Studies, a once vaunted field of scholarship that fell on hard times once the multiculturalists took over academia. Lind's explorations borrow liberally from history, politics, sociology, and philosophy in a quest to put forth an overarching argument about where America should go in the future. According to the author, the United States has experienced three revolutions during its history, and it must experience a fourth one if it is to survive.
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Format: Paperback
Michael Lind provides a fantastic reinterpretation of American history while asserting a unique and contrarian vision for the future. He divides American history into three eras -- the first from before the Revolution through the Civil War, the Second from the Civil War to the early 60s, and the final one from the 60s to the current. He says the epochs differed from each other in that each one had its own informal (but very real) set of criteria that would determine whether a particular individual qualified as a "true" American citizen. To qualify for that title in the first era, one had to be white, Anglo-saxon, and Protestant. In the next era, a de facto American was considered to be anyone who was white and Christian. He describes the current era in overwhelmingly negative terms. First, he points out that affirmative-action programs have served to divide, rather than unite, the people of this nation by making individuals conceive of themselves as members of some artificial bureaucratically-invented ethnic group, rather than as members of an ethnically diverse America. Everyone except white males gets preferences these days, and Lind calls for the abolition of affirmative action by quoting the noble Martin Luther King, Jr. Despite taking a conservative stance on that one particular issue, (and, arguably, a few of his other stances are fairly conservative) Lind is no right-wing ideologue. In fact, he argues that the Republican and Democratic Parties (he used to be a Republican before changing his tune) are both dominated by the rich and influential through our campaign-finance system, which he likens to bribery.Read more ›
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