What’s the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America, by Thomas Frank

Why do working class Kansans support a Republican Party that consistently acts against their interests? Frank’s simple answer is that culture has substituted for class; moral righteousness functions as an outlet for underlying anger at economic injustice. He examines the rhetoric of talk radio ‘shock jocks’, evangelicals, Fox News and right-wing politicians. Unfortunately the book is overly journalistic in places and the analysis is occasionally lightweight. Acknowledging the working class’s abandonment by the Democrats, Frank recommends a return to an old-fashioned economic populism. Despite its limitations, it’s encouraging to see a bestseller placing class at the heart of its analysis. SS

Holt McDougal; 2005; 336 pages

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Language ought to be the joint creation of poets and manual workers. George Orwell

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