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The Right Nation
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About the Author

Both John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge were educated at Oxford and went on to work for The Economist. John Micklethwait has overseen the magazine's Los Angeles and New York bureaus and is now its U.S. editor. Adrian Wooldridge has served as West Coast correspondent, social-policy correspondent, and management editor, and is currently Washington, D.C., correspondent. Together, they have coauthored three books, The Witch Doctors, A Future Perfect: The Challenge and Hidden Promise of Globalisation, and The Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea. Both John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge were educated at Oxford and went on to work for The Economist. John Micklethwait has overseen the magazine's Los Angeles and New York bureaus and is now its U.S. editor. Adrian Wooldridge has served as West Coast correspondent, social-policy correspondent, and management editor, and is currently Washington, D.C., correspondent. Together, they have coauthored three books, The Witch Doctors, A Future Perfect: The Challenge and Hidden Promise of Globalisation, and The Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea.

Reviews

In the introduction to this engaging study of American conservatism, Micklethwait and Wooldridge of the Economist disclaim any allegiance to America's "two great political tribes." It is this Tocquevillian quality of informed impartiality that makes their book so effective at conveying how profoundly the right has reshaped the American political landscape over the past half century. The authors trace the history of the conservative movement from the McCarthy era, when "conservatism was a fringe idea," to the second Bush administration and the "victory of the right." They dissect the new "conservative establishment," which combines the intellectual force of think tanks, business interest groups and sympathetic media outlets with the "brawn" of "footsoldiers" from the populist social conservative wing of the GOP, and argue that continuing Republican hegemony is likely. Democratic optimists who point to favorable demographic trends are exaggerating the liberalism of Latino and professional voters, say the authors, while other factors, such as suburbanization and terrorism, will tend to promote Republican values. Still, the right should be worried about its own "capacity for extremism and intolerance" and about holding together its unlikely alliance of religious moralists and small-government activists. Even so, say the authors, conservative ideas are now so pervasive in American society that even a Kerry administration could do little to divert the country's long-term rightward drift. This epochal political transformation is rarely analyzed with the degree of dispassionate clarity that Micklethwait and Wooldridge bring to their penetrating analysis. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Journalists for the Economist, British authors Micklethwait (U.S. editor) and Woolridge (Washington correspondent) join the decades-old debate about whether the United States is primarily a conservative or a liberal nation. Their analysis shows that American conservatives differ from their European counterparts. While both are nationalistic and suspicious of state power, preferring liberty over equality, American conservatives are more liberal in regard to hierarchy, pessimism, and elitism. They see themselves as rugged individualists who believe in progress and like to portray themselves as populists. This book serves as the counterpoint to John Judis and Ruy Teixeiria's The Emerging Democratic Majority, which argued that current demographics favor the Democratic Party, since the educated are the most tolerant segment of society and tend to vote. In contrast, The Right Nation sketches a cradle-to-grave conservatism in which children are home-schooled, reared in gated communities, and sent to conservative churches and colleges, then network with conservative organizations while reading and listening to conservative media. The authors' viewpoint and writing reflect the magazine for which they work: both are highly articulate, intelligent, insightful, and sometimes just plain wrong. Still, political junkies on both sides of the political spectrum will enjoy and gain from the analysis. Highly recommended.-William D. Pederson, Louisiana State Univ., Shreveport Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

"A kind of anthropology of the conservative movement, from 1952 to today." --The Wall Street Journal"The writing is consistently crisp and intelligent, the conclusions balanced.... a work of penetrating insight." --The New York Times "The Right Nation is smart, witty, and a pleasure to read." --Business Week

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