- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Press; First Edition edition (February 20, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0399562850
- ISBN-13: 978-0399562853
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Customer Reviews: 143 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #291,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations Hardcover – February 20, 2018
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“An important book ...[I] strongly agree with Chua’s argument that America’s liberal elite has contributed to Trump’s rise by failing to acknowledge its own sense of tribalism." — Financial Times
“True to form, Amy Chua presents a provocative prescription to cure our political ills. She challenges us to cross the chasm between groups—not by denying differences, but by celebrating them.”
—Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take, Originals, and Option B with Sheryl Sandberg
“Presented with keen clarity and brimming with definitive insights, Chua’s analysis of identity politics is essential reading for understanding policy challenges both at home and abroad.” — Booklist
“Amy Chua’s insightful, provocative and deeply troubling book is the place to begin our long overdue national discussion on how to repair the deep divisions in the American political landscape. Political Tribes is a wakeup call to the dangers of surrendering national unity to a fractured landscape of feuding and narrow interests.”
—Tom Brokaw, author of The Greatest Generation
“Brilliant, timeless and timely. Political Tribes concisely explains the forces that made our experiences in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq so maddeningly difficult to comprehend, and brings that same thoughtful analysis to America today. Amy Chua provokes thought – and we need that.”
—General Stan McChrystal, US Army (Ret)
“Political Tribes is a beautifully written, eminently readable, and uniquely important challenge to conventional wisdom. In it, Amy Chua argues that tribalism—and the social dysfunction and violence that comes along with it—is the norm all over the world, but the United States managed to escape its worst impulses thanks to a shared sense of national identity. But there's trouble on the horizon: identity politics on both the left and right threaten to unravel that consensus. Chua's book is a clarion call, encouraging us to reject the primal pull of identitarianism and return to that most radical of ideas, that Americans share something bigger than race or ethnicity or ideology: common citizenship and purpose.”—J. D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy
“Another wonderful book by Amy Chua! In Political Tribes, she demonstrates once again that she ranks with the keenest observers of the contemporary landscape, establishing convincingly that “Humans are tribal,” and that this reality holds significant implications for America if we truly are to achieve a ‘more perfect union.’” —General David Petraeus, US Army (Ret), former commander of coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and former Director of the CIA
“Amy Chua speaks hard truths that no one can ignore. We are, as Chua makes clear, living in denial about the power of tribalism over our domestic and foreign policy -- blinded, it seems, by our own optimism and distaste for essentialism. A page turner and revelation, Political Tribes will change the way you think.”
—Tim Wu, author of The Attention Merchants and The Master Switch
About the Author
Amy Chua is the John M. Duff, Jr. Professor at Yale Law School. She is a noted expert in the fields of ethnic conflict and globalization, and the author of the bestselling titles World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability, Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance -- and Why They Fall, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, and her most recent book, The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America, co-written with Jed Rubenfeld. She lives in New Haven, Connecticut, with her husband and two daughters.
"Truly epic" - Laurell K. Hamilton Learn more
143 customer reviews
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Her fascinating and well-written descriptions of the various groups into which American democracy is dissolving make very good reading — must-reading, for anyone interested in The USA or The World, in this Age of Trump and Age of Asia. But whether it all boils down to Tribalism, or to anything else understandable or manageable, much less a characterization of how things-political will proceed going forward, well, I’m still a sceptic — still it seems like a dissolution, to me, simply a mess now, and Trump simply a bottom-feeder opportunist taking advantage.
I hope I’m wrong and she’s right, as I’d love to believe that we somehow can bring order out of all the chaos she so elegantly describes. But I fear it’s just chaos, in fact — that her Tribalism is simply what’s left-over when systems fail, the primal soup from which we emerged in the 15th century to found our nation-states, and to which we seem to be returning now that our Terrible-20th century Long War and Pax Americana are gone.
Everyone everywhere needs to read her book, I think — it is that good, and that general, and all of us around the globe need some reassurance now that we do not face just-chaos, in our 2 great paradigm shifts from Manufacturing to Digital, and from Empires to Asia — but as we grasp for straws, and I fear Tribalism may be one such, we must remember Yeats’ warning that this may be, only,
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
— and that Trump and various other similar disasters elsewhere may be our own “rough beast, its hour come round at last”. I’d still prefer liberal democracy, a 2-Party System, multilateral treaties and foreign policies, and universalized Human Rights, over the tribalized-world Chua appears to be recommending here.
Overall, insightful, but it felt half baked. This is kind of a running theme with Chua's work. She excels at identifying problems that seem obvious in hindsight, but finishes on half-earned high notes without evaluating how societies can work through the problems she identifies. At her most uninspired, she tends to drift into cultural superiority arguments without empirical evidence to support her claims.
That being said, worth a read, especially if you haven't read any of her ethnic conflict-related work before.
Subtly provocative, Chua's analysis of domestic politics transcends political parties. Instead of taking sides, she makes clear-eyed critiques of the ways both parties have contributed to our current polarization and divisiveness. Members of BOTH parties will no doubt be challenged (and perhaps even angered!) by different parts of the book, but republicans, democrats and independents alike would all do well to read the book and think deeply about Chua's argument. The book is filled with fascinating statistics and studies that will make you think differently about things like occupy wall street, the rise of Trump, immigration, and economic inequality. And though Political Tribes is truly harrowing at times, I definitely found it to be, ultimately, a hopeful book.