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The Radical Middle Class: Populist Democracy and the Question of Capitalism in Progressive Era Portland, Oregon

(Politics and Society in Modern America)

3.14  ·  Rating details ·  37 ratings  ·  5 reviews
America has a long tradition of middle-class radicalism, albeit one that intellectual orthodoxy has tended to obscure. The Radical Middle Class seeks to uncover the democratic, populist, and even anticapitalist legacy of the middle class. By examining in particular the independent small business sector or petite bourgeoisie, using Progressive Era Portland, Oregon, as a cas ...more
Paperback, 424 pages
Published February 1st 2006 by Princeton University Press (first published March 17th 2003)
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3.14  · 
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 ·  37 ratings  ·  5 reviews


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Kent
Jan 16, 2014 rated it liked it
A bit dramatic at times and greatly detailed in Portland politics, this work is meant for scholars of the Progressive Era. However, Johnston's critiques of American historiography regarding ideas of class, the middle class, the working class, and capitalism are strong (even if one begins to wonder if he has a positive thing to say about any previous work as praise is given much less frequently than critique if not complete dismissal). These critiques/discussions of historiography (along with his ...more
Mr. Monahan
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
We have probably all been guilty of referring to the American “Middle Class” during the Progressive Era. This would bother Robert Johnston who sets out to prove that there is really no discernible “American Middle Class.”

In an exhaustively prepared historiographical chapter, Johnston humbles the reader with an analytical synthesis and comprehensive summary of the origins of the ‘middle class’ as a specific terminology. He then proposes revision, rehabilitation, or rethinking the preconceived no
...more
nada
Nov 21, 2016 rated it liked it
The Marxist author does not hide his bias, but I can see that impressive research went into this book. I wish more of it were presented though. Why repeatedly write things like "a mayor" without naming the person specifically?

Johnston also made a strange claim that Henry George's philosophy was forged in the crucible of white nationalism; absolutely no evidence was given and there was no indication of what he might have meant. It is true that George opposed the importation of Chinese slaves, and
...more
Lance
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
A really combative book that is fun to read, but he leaves religion out of the discussion.
Linda
Aug 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
I might be biased because Robert Johnston was one of my favorite professors at UIC. This book restores hope that democracy can be cool after a malfunction like W getting elected...twice
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