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Uneasy Alliances

4.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0691004648
ISBN-10: 0691004641
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Frymer argues that the failure to seriously address white racism's impact on the party system causes us to misunderstand how and why African Americans are and remain at the margins for reasons not related to their abilities and potential impact on the American political system."--Choice



"The vast literature on American political parties has been immensely enriched and enhanced by this pioneering work on race and parties. . . .This is a highly recommended work."--Hanes Walton, Jr., Political Science Quarterly



"In a work that effectively challenges cherished notions of how the political system functions, Paul Frymer . . . shows the centrality of race in the American political process. In addition, he makes a strong theoretical contribution to our analysis of the functioning of political parties in democratic regimes. Uneasy Alliances will be a valuable resource for scholars and students alike, for both its substantive arguments and its theoretical achievements."--Howard L. Reiter, American Political Science Review

From the Inside Flap

"Uneasy Alliances provides an excellent overview of the politics of race and sectional conflict that led to the development of the party system. It is an important contribution to the literature on party politics and African-American politics more broadly."--Carol M. Swain, Princeton University

"This is a bold, provocative book. . . . Scholars and activists will soon be talking about Frymer's argument and figuring out whether they agree or disagree. It's that kind of a book-hard to ignore."--Richard M. Valelly, Swarthmore College

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Princeton Studies in American Politics: Historical, International, and Comparative Perspectives
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (March 29, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691004641
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691004648
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,631,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best books I've read on race in America. It shows why racism persists, and how our political leaders collude in its persistence. It takes on conventional wisdom among intellectuals and political leaders, and it does so in a way that is accessible to an average reader. I can't praise it too highly.
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Format: Paperback
Prof. Frymer has written a book that many different audiences will find useful. Political scientists will appreciate his skill in demonstrating a counter-intuitive, and yet ultimately convincing, account of race and party politics. Those from other academic fields will be grateful for Frymer's decision to eschew political science jargon, and will find that the book makes contributions to our understanding of history and law. Finally, non-academics will find the book both accessible and informative. I highly recommend "Uneasy Alliances."
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Format: Paperback
This book is a masterful combination of historical research and party analysis that will reshape the way we think of political parties. Frymer argues convincingly that party institutions have generally sought to marginalize the issue of racial injustice in American politics. A major contribution to the literature from a young scholar and excellent teacher.
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Format: Paperback
I don't usually write online book reviews, but after reading the seven overwhelmingly positive Amazon reviews of "Uneasy Alliances" I felt that someone needed to provide a reality check. I would like to preface my own very negative review by saying that I really like some of Frymer's other scholarship, especially on the tensions inherent in the New Deal coalition. I feel very differently about "Uneasy Alliances." Here is a direct quotation from an email I wrote to a graduate school classmate shortly after reading it for the first time:

"But speaking of Frymer, have you read the book of his assigned for [Professor X's] class? I thought it was pretty terrible. It starts with a plausible theoretical idea -- that of interest group 'capture' -- and then makes a mess of history in trying to apply it to American politics. My reaction to it was so adverse from the moment I started reading that I fear I may have missed out on its redeeming qualities, which it must have since [Professor X] assigned so much of it."

This quote still basically sums up my reaction to the book. Frymer wants to blame the two-party system for the oppression of African Americans in the U.S., but his argument is just not convincing. He takes an interesting idea ("capture") and tries to shoe-horn race relations in America into his theoretical framework. It doesn't fit. Blacks weren't oppressed because the parties colluded to shut out their political demands; they were oppressed because their demands for political and social equality were not supported by the vast majority of white Americans until well into the 20th century. It is the distribution of preferences in the American electorate that was to blame, not the structure of the party system.
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