Aug 22, 11
Read from August 14 to 22, 2011
A sobering book that charts the major changes in US politics of the past two decades using the midwestern state of Kansas as a bellwether. The bad news is that this could just be the start of a new era that might echo the Middle Ages - a superstitious general populace living alongside an elite content to retreat to their castles and economic bounty.
The book taught me important conclusions about class and the creeping to the Right of working people; conned into supporting the status quo and reduced to an obsession with cultural issues. That a state like West Virginia can be transformed from a hotbed of unionism into a bastion of religious conservatism in twenty years is shocking and let's remember that things have gotten more extreme since Frank penned his account - the Tea Party were merely enbryonic back in 2005.
The pernicious rise of anti-intellectualism and pro-market consensus has been witnessed in the UK too - with Tony Blair's pro-business stance worryingly coupled with a religious world view. OK, we're not at the stage where folks fling themselves under the wheels of abortion doctors' cars yet, but how long before we will be?