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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

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  45 ratings  ·  11 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...more
Hardcover, 576 pages
Published April 12th 2012 by Viking Adult
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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 this...more
Demi Abromaits
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...more
Stephen Embry
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...more
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
James Trent
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
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.
David Bales
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
Jul 04, 2012 James rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.
I made it to page 11. Freedom from fear, and freedom from want. Good luck with that, dude.
Todd Thompson
Good history about the genesis of American liberalism and its proponents.
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