Fault Lines : A History of the United States Since 1974
by Kevin M. Kruse and Julian E. Zelizer


Overview -

If you were asked when America became polarized, your answer would likely depend on your age: you might say during Barack Obama's presidency, or with the post-9/11 war on terror, or the culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s, or the "Reagan Revolution" and the the rise of the New Right.

For leading historians Kevin M. Kruse and Julian E. Zelizer, it all starts in 1974. In that one year, the nation was rocked by one major event after another: The Watergate crisis and the departure of President Richard Nixon, the first and only U.S. President to resign; the winding down of the Vietnam War and rising doubts about America's military might; the fallout from the OPEC oil embargo that paralyzed America with the greatest energy crisis in its history; and the desegregation busing riots in South Boston that showed a horrified nation that our efforts to end institutional racism were failing.

In the years that followed, the story of our own lifetimes would be written. Longstanding historical fault lines over income inequality, racial division, and a revolution in gender roles and sexual norms would deepen and fuel a polarized political landscape. In Fault Lines, Kruse and Zelizer reveal how the divisions of the present day began almost five decades ago, and how they were widened thanks to profound changes in our political system as well as a fracturing media landscape that was repeatedly transformed with the rise of cable TV, the internet, and social media.

How did the United States become so divided? Fault Lines offers a richly told, wide-angle history view toward an answer.

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    Fault Lines (Paperback)
    Published: 2020-01-01
    Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
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More About Fault Lines by Kevin M. Kruse; Julian E. Zelizer
 
 
 
Overview

If you were asked when America became polarized, your answer would likely depend on your age: you might say during Barack Obama's presidency, or with the post-9/11 war on terror, or the culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s, or the "Reagan Revolution" and the the rise of the New Right.

For leading historians Kevin M. Kruse and Julian E. Zelizer, it all starts in 1974. In that one year, the nation was rocked by one major event after another: The Watergate crisis and the departure of President Richard Nixon, the first and only U.S. President to resign; the winding down of the Vietnam War and rising doubts about America's military might; the fallout from the OPEC oil embargo that paralyzed America with the greatest energy crisis in its history; and the desegregation busing riots in South Boston that showed a horrified nation that our efforts to end institutional racism were failing.

In the years that followed, the story of our own lifetimes would be written. Longstanding historical fault lines over income inequality, racial division, and a revolution in gender roles and sexual norms would deepen and fuel a polarized political landscape. In Fault Lines, Kruse and Zelizer reveal how the divisions of the present day began almost five decades ago, and how they were widened thanks to profound changes in our political system as well as a fracturing media landscape that was repeatedly transformed with the rise of cable TV, the internet, and social media.

How did the United States become so divided? Fault Lines offers a richly told, wide-angle history view toward an answer.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780393088663
  • ISBN-10: 0393088669
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
  • Publish Date: January 2019
  • Page Count: 400
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.85 pounds


Related Categories

Books > History > United States - 20th Century
Books > History > United States - 21st Century

 
BookPage Reviews

Fault Lines

When Americans woke up on November 7, 2016, it seemed as if we were not one country, but two. There were the red states and the blue states; the pro-Trumps and the anti-Trumps; the Republicans and the Democrats. In the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s election, it seems to some that we are no longer a united nation, but the uneasy yoking of enemy camps. However, in Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974, Princeton professors Kevin M. Kruse and Julian E. Zelizer demonstrate that the current crisis is nothing new. Instead, it is the result of fissures that have been deepening for decades.

In the 1950s, there was an expectation that middle-class white men would be the dominant breadwinners, women would be relegated to the home, and people of color would continue to be treated as second-class citizens. However, as underrepresented groups demanded and fought for equal rights and opportunities, cracks in the status quo began to emerge—sometimes explosively. Like volcanic eruptions along a fault line, the Watts riots in LA, the Stonewall riots in New York City and the Kent State shootings were symptoms of a deeper schism. Aided by advances in technology such as the internet and cable news, along with a growing distrust of politicians in the wake of Watergate and subsequent scandals, the cracks deepened, and American opposition hardened into enmity. President Trump may very well be an accelerant of this process, but he is also a product of it.

Fault Lines started as a series of lectures by Kruse and Zelizer offered at Princeton. Judging from the resulting book, the class was no doubt a wonderful introduction to a critical era in our history. Even for those who lived through these events, Fault Lines gives brilliant context to help us understand how Americans have become so fragmented and rigid in our beliefs. Perhaps, with understanding, we can begin to soften our divisions and heal.

 

This article was originally published in the January 2019 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews