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An Uncivil War: Taking Back Our Democracy in an Age of Trumpian Disinformation and Thunderdome Politics
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An Uncivil War: Taking Back Our Democracy in an Age of Trumpian Disinformation and Thunderdome Politics

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  116 ratings  ·  24 reviews
In An Uncivil War, the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent sounds an urgent alarm about the deeper roots of our democratic backsliding—and how we can begin to turn things around between now and 2020.

American democracy is facing a crisis as fraught as we’ve seen in decades. Donald Trump’s presidency has raised the specter of authoritarian rule. Extreme polarization and the scor
ebook, 256 pages
Published October 16th 2018 by Custom House
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Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: current-events
In an account that includes numerous interviews with political operatives and strategists in both parties, political scientists and historians, An Uncivil War proposes practical ways of shoring up our democracy—a series of guiding objectives that large-D and small-d democrats alike must treat as eminently attainable. It is a handbook for restoring fair play to our politics at a moment when the stakes could not be higher.
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2018
Love this book! I was losing all hope because of this political climate that we are in. Greg Sargent breaks things down and gives hope for the future. Glad I read it!
Chris Jaffe
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this book because I'm a big fan of Sargent's twitter account. This book isn't as good as his twitter feed, though. If I could give half-stars, I'd give this 3.5. It's not bad, but it reads a little light - like it's an extended column rather than a book.

Sargent looks at our current climate and tries to balance concern/fear due to the Trump's attack on our nation's institutions with some levelheaded hope. We need to react, but shouldn't overreact. You can't get complacent, but you also sh
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another scholarly look at how we got here and the polarization in politics today. Not so much on the "how to fix it", but points out some things that appear to be moving in the right direction.

More indications that we need to get people interested in critical thinking and civic-mindedness earlier.

It is shocking to me that "middle america" type people these days are spreading ridiculous claims that "democracy" (not even the Democratic Party, but the actual idea of democracy) is totalitarianism a
Stefan Fergus
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5*, I think.
Lots of interesting detail in here. Didn't feel as new or enlightening as I'd hoped (but then, as politics becomes ever-more covered not only in traditional news media but also via social media, etc., little will be "new" in the future - see Bob Woodward's books, for example).

It's nice to have a lot of this information in one place. Some interesting and atypical examples, and some good background (gerrymandering, for example). Rather drily told.

The attempt at both-sides balance at
Cherie O'Boyle
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The hardest part for me to get my head around is that there are people, politically powerful people in this country, who do not believe in democracy. They are opposed to a political system where each of us has an equal voice in shaping our country and in choosing our leaders. Those people have been working on several fronts and mostly behind the scenes, for the last several decades to dismantle democracy. This book details those efforts.
We are not talking about foreign powers and influencers. We
David Wunderlich
The book is a bit unfocused. It's largely interested in reforms to voting systems, combatting gerrymandering most of all, but it strays from that central through line at times. For a book striving to take back democracy that worries about constitutional hardball, it mentions but strangely neglects to recommend getting rid of things that have been used to hold the very workings of government themselves hostage like the debt ceiling (repeal it) or government shutdowns (make appropriations continue ...more
Paul Deaton
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Written before the 2018 Midterms and Bret Kavanaugh's confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, Greg Sargent provides an outline of key issues to help Democrats as we prepare for the 2020 general election. He covers voter suppression, gerrymandering, the role of disinformation in our current politics, and refreshes our memory of the hardball constitutional politics played by Republican leadership in recent years. He frames up what Democrats can do about our politics that favors democracy and fair ...more
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I want to say first that I really enjoy Greg Sargent's editorials in the Washington Post. This book went over its points well on how our democracy is slipping away with voter suppression, gerrymandering, the attack on the impartial media, and hardball tactics in the Congress and speaks to how to correct the downward path we are on. Even though, at times, my eyes glazed over from reading too much of the same, or was it just horror from our current situation with Trump, it's still well written wit ...more
Aug 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
Probably the most hypocritical garbage I've ever read. I was hoping to find insights for understanding various viewpoints, instead this book is pure Trump bashing. It acknowledges a few decades of partisan politics and abuses of executive powers, yet always turns to painting Trump as the pure evil force destroying this country. How is this "taking back our democracy"? It is nothing more than divisive rhetoric. ...more
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Quick and to the point. This book stresses the importance of staying engaged, particularly with less glamorous state elections, and it's clear why that's important when you look at North Carolina. I think his prescription is sound, and certainly not radical. He references many fine works to come out in recent years which look at the state of our democracy. I think this is an important work, and highly recommend. ...more
Ben Vore
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sargent’s blog for The Washington Post consistently features perceptive, incisive commentary, and An Uncivil War is a fairly comprehensive analysis of the current dysfunctional state of American politics. Regular readers of The Plum Line will not be surprised by the conclusion he draws — “Republican assaults on our democratic and governing norms really have been more destructive than Democratic ones” — but something about the book length format dulls the urgency of his daily commentary.
Alastair Dallas
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good discussion of what it means to be a democracy and the ways that a nation moves closer to, or backslides from, the ideal. Generally non-partisan, while admitting that most of the extreme "constitutional hardball" has been perpetrated by Republicans of late. Generally focused on the constitutional compromise that leaves voting machinery to the states, but cognizant of the Trumpian nightmare lurking in the White House. ...more
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There's a lot here that's true and that I agree with but not much at all that hasn't already been well-covered elsewhere.

If you follow this stuff online much from various reliable and knowledgeable journalists and such, this feels more like a review of the familiar than any new insights or depths of detail.
Nov 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5. I hate that our nation is so divided and everything has become scorched earth policies with compromise as a bad word. We seem to have forgotten that we are Americans first and our party comes second, if that should even be a consideration. I would suggest that everyone read this with an open mind and then see if we can all get along.
Carol Willis
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
A reasoned look at some of the fundamental challenges of our era that were present before Trump's election and will continue after his presidency, unless we all work with intention to restore our civil institutions. The title makes it sound a bit like an emotional appeal, but it is not. On the contrary, it reads a bit dry. ...more
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
For all the despair, bleak hopelessness herein, where we learn American Democracy has all but failed, Sargent at least shows us there is a way out. Whether or not it’s too late for us to save ourselves remains to be seen.
Doug McGuire
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An excellent study on where our democracy is threatened with suggestions on how we might right the ship. Highly recommended!
Alex Maldonado
Nov 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Didn’t learn much more than I already knew. Maybe it’s a better book if you aren’t already deep into politics, but at that point I wonder if you would even be interested in it.
A bit dated because written before 2018 elections. The insights and commentary are still valuable. A short precise description of the mess America is in.
Patrick Bair
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, politics
Really excellent analysis. I could have read more!
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Extremely narrow by design, but still fills an unfilled gap in books about how to answer what Sargent calls "constitutional hardball" on the part of the GOP in the last 20 years. ...more
Geoff Walling
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Basically makes the case that Trump is bad. I knew this before reading the book.
Aurora Grace
rated it really liked it
Apr 26, 2019
mohammed sameer
rated it really liked it
Mar 08, 2019
Paul Fife
rated it really liked it
Feb 17, 2019
Adam Mills
rated it it was amazing
Apr 20, 2020
rated it did not like it
Jun 02, 2019
Jerry Marek
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Apr 05, 2019
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