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Two new books explore the liberal tradition from the right and the left

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Two recently signed books take the liberal tradition to task from opposite sides of the political spectrum.

Jay Cost is a thoughtful political analyst who delivers a granular, conservative perspective on his HorseRaceBlog at RealClearPolitics.com. His knowledge goes deep – he’s studying at the University of Chicago where he’s writing his dissertation on the American political parties.

On his blog he acknowledges that he has opinions and is not be shy about voicing them -- an honest and welcome assertion. “You should know that I am biased,” he writes on the blog. “I make no claims to be 'objective,’ which I think is just a convenient device designed by journalists during the media consolidation of the 20th century. I see my personal worldview reflected in everything I write, and I'd never deny that this is the case.”

In his new book, Cost appears to have cast off sober intellectualism and jumped head-first into the book publishing world’s fastest-growing genre: over-juiced, end-of-the-world, rabble-rousing hyperbole. At least, if you judge a book by its title.

Cost’s book, sold to Harper, will be called: “From Progress to Perfidy: The Untold Story of How the Democratic Party Became a Threat to the American Republic.” PublishersMarketplace.com, which covers the publishing industry, reports that the book will trace the transformation of the Democratic Party into a modern-day Tammany Hall that “"taxes Middle America to pay off its parasitical clients while hiding its true nature behind a smokescreen of idealist rhetoric.”


In his new book, former New York Times foreign correspondent Chris Hedges probes the moral and cultural bankruptcy of American liberal institutions such as the media, universities, the Church and the arts. Hedges, who is a columnist for the liberal web site Truthdig, has written nine books, including “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” and “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning,” which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction. His latest, which is titled “Death of the Liberal Class” and will be published by Nation Books, will explore the consequences of the breakdown in liberal institutions.

As PublishersMarketplace.com reports, Hedges argues that “the social, cultural, and political abandonment of America's working class breeds rage, hate speech, violence, and ultimately, revolt.”

By Steven E. Levingston  |  May 20, 2010; 5:30 AM ET
Categories:  Tomorrows Titles Today  | Tags: decline of liberal institutions, liberal tradition, threat of democratic party  
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