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The Cause: The Fight for American Liberalism from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama
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The Cause: The Fight for American Liberalism from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  60 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
The definitive history of American postwar liberalism, told through the lens of those who brought it to life.

Liberalism stands proudly at the center of American politics and culture. Driven by passion for social justice, tempered by respect for the difficulty of change, liberals have struggled to end economic inequality, racial discrimination, and political repression. L
Hardcover, 576 pages
Published April 12th 2012 by Viking Adult
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Jan 28, 2013 Bennet rated it it was amazing
To be a liberal means, fundamentally, to be a child of the Enlightenment. It means standing firm on behalf of the foundational freedoms of thought, expression, and the necessity of individuals to take hold of their collective fates and shape them according to the values of liberty and equality . . . The liberals who founded America believed themselves to be inventing a new form of government based on those Enlightenment precepts.

It became known as "the American experiment."

The subtitle of thi
Aug 10, 2012 Steve rated it it was amazing
This is a political history of liberalism from Roosevelt to Obama, its successes, its internal struggles, its failures, its changes and modifications, its war with a new breed of opponent-- the modern tea party-influenced conservative, whose only political goal is to win regardless of the cost in human terms. Alterman's focus is on the figures who have tried to turn liberalism into political action: Franklin Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jimmy Carter, Bill ...more
Stephen Embry
Sep 22, 2013 Stephen Embry rated it really liked it
A random walk history of Liberalism from FDR through BHO. The story is told as it more or less happened, people of a particular persuasion reacting and responding to events of their day. This provides for a glide through numerous personalities with transitions so subtle that often you do not notice them.
This stylistic device and eloquent voice alone would make for excellent reading, with the analysis an excellent frosting on the story. However, the anaysis is so good and intriguing that it could
Demi Abromaits
Oct 11, 2014 Demi Abromaits rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I picked up this book seeking an in-depth, critical analysis of the last century of American liberalism, assaying various figures leanings and cited policy decisions. Eric Alterman delivered.
This book recounts the achievements, failures, and frictions of American liberalism from FDR to Barack Obama with an affectionate, but sharp eye. The Cause provides great detail of the various cultural and political figures which contributed to liberal thought throughout the 20th and early 21st century, incl
James Trent
Oct 05, 2012 James Trent rated it it was amazing
I can think of no book that better recounts the achievements and failures of American liberalism than this book. The authors take as their period of analysis the decades from Roosevelt's New Deal to Obama's "Yes we can." Filled with cultural markers as well as expected political changes, the book develops a picture of American liberalism that has sometimes over-reached, sometimes promised more than it could deliver, but nevertheless has changed America into a more just, equal, and compassionate ...more
Feb 27, 2013 Gordon rated it liked it
Shelves: never-finished
I should start by saying this book is encyclopedic and helped me to understand the Truman and Roosevelt administrations and their relationship to liberalism. The middle stuff is OK, but predictable for anyone who has followed the movement. King is good, the Kennedys are good, and Johnson is misguided. OK, I get it. The last stuff is confused. I like Alterman. I like his prose. His research is good. I get it.
Oct 24, 2016 judy rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Apologies, Mr. Alterman. As I've surfed around the Web, I've been drawn to Jon Meacham and Howard Fineman. I scanned you but was really too quick to give you the attention you deserve. This book is amazing. I am old enough to have read extensively on FDR and actually remember Truman being discussed over the dinner table--including all the messy parts. My dad worked on the Hill. I cannot imagine what you went through to ferret all this out. You explained everything so well--especially when the in ...more
David Bales
Jul 27, 2013 David Bales rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
A chronicle of the difficult struggle for liberalism in America, since the New Deal; with interesting portraits of major figures in American history such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Henry Wallace, Bayard Rustin, the Kennedy brothers, George McGovern and many others all the way to Barack Obama. Liberalism in America was deeply derailed by the war in Vietnam, (the motivations of the Johnson Administration summed up nicely here) and the backlash over civil rights. The excesses of the right wing compounde ...more
This book was an interesting history of liberalism from FDR to Obama. However, it was a very dry read and the author has a habit of going off on to random historical tangents that have little to nothing to do with the main narrative. He also skipped over things thst should have been better addressed (for instance, the Bush Years) while giving far too much time to things that were on the whole rather irrelvant. I also feel that the book should have been a little heavier on analysis as this is exa ...more
Dec 02, 2015 Shawn rated it really liked it
A good book on how liberals have ebbed and flowed with the societal changes from 1945 to the election of Obama. The book does not confine itself to politicians alone, but incorporates philosophers, historians, and writers who helped shape the changing definition of liberal. I would recommend this book to anyone who already had a basic understanding of how the democratic party has changed as this book will help build on that understanding and allow for a more in-depth analysis of the factors that ...more
Mar 20, 2016 Michael rated it did not like it
Round One (8/12): I made it to page 11. Freedom from fear, and freedom from want. Good luck with that, dude.

Round Two (3/16): a long, dense book of political history written in 9 point font and exacting detail. I. Just. Can't.
Jul 04, 2012 James rated it really liked it
Recommended to James by: Bill Moyers & Company
The author is able to put into historical perspective the evolution of liberal thought from FDR to Obama.
Todd Thompson
Jan 26, 2013 Todd Thompson rated it really liked it
Good history about the genesis of American liberalism and its proponents.
Christiana rated it liked it
Sep 12, 2016
Stuart rated it it was amazing
Jul 08, 2012
Tracey rated it really liked it
Aug 08, 2012
Sean rated it really liked it
Oct 14, 2012
Joshua rated it liked it
Sep 30, 2012
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Jun 13, 2013
Matt rated it liked it
Aug 25, 2013
Max Gordon
Max Gordon rated it really liked it
Feb 26, 2013
Brian Q
Brian Q rated it liked it
Feb 25, 2013
Joe Collins
Joe Collins rated it liked it
Sep 10, 2016
Roger Ingram
Roger Ingram rated it really liked it
Dec 02, 2012
Tyler Baum
Tyler Baum rated it it was amazing
Nov 19, 2012
Candy rated it did not like it
Oct 06, 2013
Ashley rated it really liked it
Sep 02, 2013
Adrienne Kuerzi
Adrienne Kuerzi rated it liked it
Dec 05, 2012
John Bohnert
John Bohnert rated it liked it
Sep 17, 2014
Mark Kelso
Mark Kelso rated it it was ok
May 11, 2014
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