Many questions have been asked about the Tea Party explosion in the last few years such as who are the these people, what do they want, what effect will they have on the Republican party and is this truly a grassroots movement? These are some of the questions that Theda Skocpol, the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University, and Vanessa Williamson, PhD candidate in Government and Social Policy at Harvard University, hope to answer in their 2012 study of the Tea Party movement. After researching the past work and credentials of the authors I was sure that this would be a very heady social science view of the Tea Party. I was pleasantly surprised when this became a very easy and enjoyable read backed up with end notes for those looking for additional information or clarification on the Tea Party movement. Some of the issues covered by the authors includes a discussion of the catalyst of the movement ( dissatisfied voters, the election of Barack Obama, the center-ward shift of the Grand Old Party), a profile of the average movement member (old, white, conservative, Republican, educated, misinformed, birthers, Birchers, militant...but generally nice people), the infighting between social conservatives and younger libertarians, and the role of the media in the Tea Party explosion. While the authors are careful not to slant their view to far to the left they do let their own views shine through when discussing the role of the media, for example in this description of Fox News "make viewers both more conservative and less informed" while characterizing MSNBC and NPR as non biased news sources. Also the authors took on the air of an anthropologists field notes describing a uncivilized people when speaking of the Tea Party members, a sort of "White man's Liberal burden". Overall this was a good read, only 204 pages long, for those wanting to know more about the Tea Party movement and can be bought on Amazon for $14. Review can be read at [...] a free blog for book reviews
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