The Fight for American Liberalism from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama
The definitive history of American postwar liberalism, told through the lens of those who brought it to life.
Liberalism stands proudly at the center of American politics and culture. Driven by passion for social justice, tempered by respect for the difficulty of change, liberals have struggled to end economic inequality, racial discrimination, and political repression. Liberals have fueled their cause with the promise of American life and visions of national greatness, seeking to transform the White House; the halls of Congress, the courts, the worlds of entertainment, law, media, and the course of public opinion. Bestselling author, journalist, and historian Eric Alterman, together with historian Kevin Mattson, traces the history of liberal ideals through the lives and struggles of fascinating personalities. The Cause tells the remarkable story of politicians, intellectuals, visionaries, activists, and public personalities battling for the heart and soul of the nation.
The first full-scale treatment of postwar liberalism, The Cause offers an epic saga driven by stories of grand aspirations, principled ambitions, tragic flaws, and the ironies of history of the people who fought for America to live up to the highest ideals of its history.
The New York Times Editors’ Choice
— The Boston Globe
“What a relief it is, then, to read Eric Alterman’s superb new book The Cause.” — The Boston Globe
“Thorough and thoughtful.” — Kirkus Reviews
“So many books lately on the rise of the Right, but here, finally, is a history of postwar liberalism. Media critic, political columnist (e.g., The Nation), CUNY journalism professor, and best-selling author (e.g., Why We’re Liberal), Alterman joins with Ohio University professor Mattson to define liberalism through the individuals who have shaped it over the last decades. Important for current events readers except in really red states."
— Library Journal
“[A]n illuminating history of postwar politics, international relations, culture, and philosophy—all in one scrupulously researched volume.”
— Publishers Weekly
“[Eric] Alterman and [Kevin] Mattson present an impressive history.”
— Library Journal
“The Cause is at its best in its deft articulation of the inseparability of liberalism’s strengths and weaknesses.”
— Yale Alumni Magazine
“The Cause provides an ample arsenal of information to remind liberals that theirs is the side of virtue.” — The History News Network
“Witty…. Simply by telling this story it reminds us that liberal has always been and remains one of the ways of being a patriotic, constructive American.” — Sullivan County Democrat
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