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Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America (Great Questions in Politics Series)

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  361 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Part of the Great Questions in Politics series, Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America combines polling data with a compelling narrative to debunk commonly-believed myths about American politics--particularly the claim that Americans are deeply divided in their fundamental political views. This second edition of Culture War? features a new chapter that demonstrates h ...more
Paperback, Second Edition, 234 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by Longman (first published July 14th 2004)
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3.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  361 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Mar 03, 2016 rated it did not like it
Incredibly boring: at one point the author recites the data tables that he has printed on the page.

The other problem with this book is his hypothesis sets out to prove something we already know is true: media outlets sensationalize small contrasts to get headlines and attract viewers. Duh.

The book would have been more interesting if his slant would have tried to blame the audience for continuing to click on nonsense, rather than the media who is only providing them with what they desire.
Shannon McDermott
Interesting analysis, but imperfect and now quite outdated.
Avialae S.
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book provides a concise and clear assessment of the political statistical data that has previously been made oblivious to the public eye- proving that neither the Left nor the Right of the political spectrum have been quite as polarized as we have been made to believe. Even regarding the most controversial issues, like homosexuality and abortion, the data shows that it is not necessarily the voters themselves who have become so militant and polarized, but the political parties and their res ...more
Nov 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Morris Fiorina's Culture War pushes back on the idea that America is an intensly divided political state composed of blue states where liberals dominate and red states where conservatives dominate. Instead, he parses data on a variety of issues to attempt to demonstrate that most Americans still belong in the middle of the political spectrum, and the views of "red" and "blue" America are not truly that divergent.

The books makes some good arguments, but in the end, I have to say that it didn't fu
Dan Smee
Nov 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
The “culture war” rhetoric recently popularized by some in the media polarizes and stereotypes Americans. Blue states are snobs. Red states are unsophisticated working class stiffs. But is such polarization real, or is it the figment of “politicos” in the media who have found a catchy sound bite? Media and the politic elite appear to find such divides useful to their purposes, i.e., to be able to play up to their base. Americans are divided in real ways across issues of abortion, gun control, an ...more
Steven Peterson
Dec 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Red states versus blue states. We have all heard of the great divide in the United States for so long that it has become something close to "received wisdom." This thin little book, authored by the well-respected Morris Fiorina (with the assistance of Samuel Abrams and Jeremy Pope), questions this widely held view of a culture war raging in the United States.

Fiorina, for those readers who are familiar with his academic research, is a skilled researcher, well schooled in statistics. It is to his
Jun 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: grad-school
Fiorina makes some interesting, new-ish points attempting to disprove that there is a culture war in the US. While I agree that perhaps "culture war" is a bit dramatic, he did not convince me that there is not, in fact, great disagreement among a sizable portion of Americans. Maybe it is "only" 20% or so, but that is still a lot of people and quite meaningful, especially if the folks who are interested enough in voting in primaries have quite different views, then the candidates will end up with ...more
May 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gov-pols
This was a good read. It wasn't overly dry, though it did have its occasional moments. Like the information and proofs that Fiorina brought to the thesis/argument. I would recommend this book to anyone whom has an interest in politics/ government, and media/main stream perspectives. This work helped to illustrate one of the many takes on current American politics. The thesis was logical and didn't seem to overly push the limits. Remaining neutral in the discussion of the proposed 'culture war' h ...more
Apr 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
There's substantial empirical evidence in this book to suggest that the political polarization that gets so much attention in the media is an illusion -- so far as everyday people are concerned. True, there is deep polarization among the political elites, but not so much at all among everyone else -- if Fiorina's use of the longitudinal studies (General Social Survey and National Election Studies) is credible. He isn't the only researcher saying this either. It makes me wonder if we aren't still ...more
Jul 12, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this in the early 2000s in college and recall that even then I found the arguments less than persuasive. Having reread this book in the age of a stonewalling do-nothing Congress, gun-toting anti-government lunatics, and the rise of Drumpf, I am even less convinced than ever that this country isn't deeply, possibly fatally, polarized.
It would be interesting to read a new edition, with new research, to see if Fiorina still holds to his thesis in light of 2016's grim reality.
May 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fiorina's thesis is that political parties, not citizens, are increasingly polarized. He discusses how the two major political parties have moved to the left and right and provides arguments on what this all means for democracy. The updated version includes the 2008 election and how it does or does not fit into his thesis.
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and very well researched analysis of the polarization (or lack thereof) of the American electorate. I would be interested to see how some of the ideas have changed or how the data might be different if it reflected elections more recent than 2004 as well as the increased importance of social media in determining partisanship.
Jan 02, 2011 rated it liked it
reading the third edition, though... Goodreads doesn't seem to have it!

Hmmm... hard to say whether or not I liked this book. I agree with Fiorina that the "Culture War" is overemphasized, but I dislike his solutions.
Nov 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: didnt-finish
Disappointing -- Fiorina seems content to debunk the crude red-state/blue-state with an endless array of statistics, never actually putting forward a more sophisticated analysis. I bailed after a hundred pages or so.
Ricks Eric
May 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Fiorina postulates and interesting theory regarding the political activity of Americans, and how americans are truly not as polarized as the media makes us out to be.

This is a quick and interesting read.
Joan Gartner
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
Very informative for the first few chapters however after that the author just keeps trying to prove his point,which becomes very tedious.
Apr 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
You want to look at some data to see if we're really in a Culture War? This book will help tremendously...
Frank Ly
Nov 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: university
Very informative.
Definitely altered some opinions about American polarization. An updated version would be nice, because a lot has changed in the political climate since 2004/2008.
Feb 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This was a great read, lots of data from all sorts of sources, and the answer is not what you might think it is!
May 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A MUST READ!! Seriously. Even if you don't subscribe to mainstream political ideologies, this is a well researched account of what America REALLY believes.
Sep 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
everyone should read this book. the information presented is valid and reliable, the conclusions drawn are linear and realistic... it's so interesting.
Robert Williamson
Jun 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Compelling argument, although it does not address recent increases in partisanship among politicians and its possible repercussions.
Nov 18, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Read for class, a dull take on an over-talked subject.
Jul 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Political science majors, political entheusiasts
There is no left or right America, but, rather, a moderate one. Read this book to find out how media incorrectly portrays America as 'red' or 'blue' and how we are really 'purple,' or, in between.
Lori Kopp
Dec 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Sep 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
Important book, but he comes to questionable conclusions. America is split, 45/45. We'll see how the 10% vote in 2008.
Peter Sannizzaro
rated it liked it
Sep 05, 2018
Steven Macneil
rated it it was amazing
Feb 21, 2011
Jesus Galindo
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May 17, 2015
Andrew Blejde
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Jan 16, 2017
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