In Nut Country, Edward H. Miller tells the story of that transformation, showing how a group of influential far-right businessmen, religious leaders, and political operatives developed a potent mix of hardline anticommunism, biblical literalism, and racism to generate a violent populism and widespread power. Though those figures were seen as extreme in Texas and elsewhere, mainstream Republicans nonetheless found themselves forced to make alliances, or tack to the right on topics like segregation. As racial resentment came to fuel the national Republican party s divisive but effective Southern Strategy, the power of the extreme conservatives rooted in Texas only grew.
Drawing direct lines from Dallas to DC, Miller's captivating history offers a fresh understanding of the rise of the new Republican Party and the apocalyptic language, conspiracy theories, and ideological rigidity that remain potent features of our politics today."
- ISBN-13: 9780226205380
- ISBN-10: 022620538X
- Publisher: University of Chicago Press
- Publish Date: September 2015
- Page Count: 256
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-08-17
- Reviewer: Staff
“We’re heading into nut country today,” President John F. Kennedy said to his wife on the day he was killed in 1963, a reference to Dallas’s growing reputation as a hot spot for ultraconservative Republicans. What had traditionally been a nondescript, socially conservative city took a hard right turn in the city’s post-WWII economic boom as government manufacturing contracts and proximity to oil fields launched new migrations of white-collar workers into higher tax brackets. Miller, an adjunct history professor at Northeastern University, painstakingly details how a combination of newfound wealth (and a desire to hold on to it), a sudden rise of the middle class (which allowed for a single breadwinner and freed wives to dabble in politics), and the need for new residents to assimilate resulted in a highly conservative political stance riddled with deep-seated racism and “conspiratorial” John Bircher thinking. Miller’s outstanding research allows him to weave a number of parallel stories, most notably his portrayal of the role of women working behind the scenes to enact this political shift. The work loses steam as the Reagan years approach, and there is little on the Bush family, but this is otherwise an insightful examination of a political shift that endures to this day. (Oct.)