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A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  63 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
When Patrick Buchanan took the stage at the Republican National Convention in 1992 and proclaimed, “There is a religious war going on for the soul of our country,” his audience knew what he was talking about: the culture wars, which had raged throughout the previous decade and would continue until the century’s end, pitting conservative and religious Americans against ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published April 14th 2015 by University Of Chicago Press
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Pamela Burdick
Sep 23, 2015 Pamela Burdick rated it it was amazing
This beautifully written and well researched book offers something for everyone.

The chapter "The Trouble with Gender" is fascinating and I believe the first half of the chapter would make excellent required reading in high school explaining how men and women have arrived in their current state regarding gender conversations.

Personally, I recently found myself in you another conversation where the woman I spoke with prefaced her statement with "I am not a feminist but...." This statement floors
...more
Oliver Bateman
Jul 22, 2015 Oliver Bateman rated it it was amazing
A fine overview of the culture wars and a good companion to Kazin's The Populist Persuasion. Hartman, who founded the excellent USIH blog, credits its many contributors throughout the work and provides a good example of how digital collaboration can shape the development of a manuscript.

That said, this remains a cool title, some good info, and a starting point. I'm not an expert on everything described in the book, but I'd say I've read and watched as much of Pat Buchanan's work as anyone curren
...more
Rj
Jul 14, 2015 Rj rated it it was amazing
A really good analysis of how the culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s developed over time. An important book for anyone interested in the period and how the neo-conservative movement developed. Would make a great teaching tool for anyone wanting to unravel how politics divided after the 1960s.

"But the sixties universalized fracture. Many Americans prior to the sixties, particularly middle-class white Americans, were largely sheltered from the "acids of modernity," those modern ways of thinking
...more
Alex Stroshine
Nov 03, 2015 Alex Stroshine rated it it was amazing
"A War For the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars" by Andrew Hartman offers a sweeping account of a changing America. Hartman effectively demonstrates how the 1960s laid the groundwork for America's divisive culture wars, tackling topics such as feminism, education, religion and race.

Hartman's book is well-researched and ranging. He highlights interesting twists in the theatres of the culture wars, such as how Andrea Dworkin and other feminist opponents of pornography found themselv
...more
The American Conservative
Just a decade ago, intellectual history was considered an outmoded sub-field of history. The long decline of intellectual history was the result of a deliberate effort by a generation of social historians to push it from the halls of academia—to banish the unfashionable emphasis on the ideas of preeminent Western thinkers. Classifications such as race, class, and gender replaced the study of history as ideas.

By the 1980s, “social history” had morphed into “cultural history,” which borrowed its a
...more
Bookforum Magazine
"By grounding his account in a broader historical context, Hartman reminds us that the signature battles of contemporary culture warfare represent much more than a short-lived conflict between the Christian Right and the rest of society.

He is an extremely entertaining writer, and his nimble turns from pop music to porn to abortion to politics and back make for engaging, smooth reading."

–Elizabeth Bruenig on Andrew Hartman's A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars in the Apr
...more
Mauberley
A sharp and insightful analysis of the culture wars and their enduring effects on the contemporary landscape. 'Normative America' has been confronted with numerous opposing voices (feminism, multiculturalism, identity politics, the 'new class' of the professoriat, etc.) and collision is explosive. Special note must be made of the clarity of Hartman's exposition.
Andrew
Jul 01, 2016 Andrew rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-library
One of the best books I've read this year. For intellectual history, it moves fast, but doesn't sacrifice erudition. Must read for anyone who enjoyed the recent documentary Best of Enemies, or generally enjoys a good debate.
Edward Sullivan
An excellent overview of the culture wars of the last half of the 20th century that impacted art, music, public education, and popular culture.
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