- Hardcover: 497 pages
- Publisher: Ecco Pr (2 October 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780062438980
- ISBN-13: 978-0062438980
- ASIN: 0062438980
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 4 x 22.9 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 680 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
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- #116 in Books > Politics, Philosophy & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Elections & Political Process > Political Parties
- #595 in Books > Politics, Philosophy & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Government > United States
- #1013 in Books > History > Americas > United States > 20th Century
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The Red and the Blue: The 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism Hardcover – 2 Oct 2018
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"An insightful, learned, and thought-provoking theory that the political tribalism of the moment is rooted in the worlds of Gingrich and of the Clintons, and the first days of the political-entertainment complex. This is an illuminating argument from a master political journalist and analyst."--Jon Meacham
"Steve Kornacki brings to The Red and the Blue the same intensity, rigorous reporting and incisive analysis that captivate his television audiences. This book sucked us right in and taught us something new about politics on every page."--Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes
"Revealing reading to think about before the midterms heat up."--Kirkus Reviews
"Kornacki is known for his predictive ability to read electoral tea leaves and spot trends. Now his journalistic prowess is on display in this sharp narrative tracking the steps and missteps over the last quarter-century that brought us to today's combative political stasis."--Booklist (starred review)
"A hard-hitting look at 1990s election politics. . . . Engrossing. . . . With rich detail about '90s pop culture and astute political commentary, Kornacki tells an enlightening tale."--Publishers Weekly
"Instructive. . . . Reads like a novel with many footnotes and is ideal for anyone interested in contemporary American politics."--Library Journal
"The energy and insight Kornacki expresses as a political analyst on television shatters the screen and fills the pages of this carefully crafted book. . . . Engaging, entertaining, and enlightening."--Lee Miringoff, PhD, Director of Marist Institute for Public Opinion
"Superb. . . . Kornacki recounts these events stylishly and objectively. . . . [An] absorbing narrative."--Washington Post
"[Kornacki] is one of the most perceptive political analysts on cable TV. . . . A crisp and fast-paced narrative."--The Guardian
From the Back Cover
From MSNBC and NBC news correspondent steve kornacki, a lively and sweeping history of the 1990s--one that brings critical new understanding to our current political landscape
In The Red and the Blue, cable news star and acclaimed journalist Steve Kornacki follows the twin paths of Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, two larger-than-life politicians who exploited the weakened structure of their respective parties to attain the highest offices. For Clinton, that meant contorting himself around the various factions of the Democratic Party to win the presidency. Gingrich employed a scorched-earth strategy to upend the permanent Republican minority in the House, making him Speaker.
The Clinton/Gingrich battles were bare-knuckle brawls that brought about massive policy shifts and high-stakes showdowns--their collisions had far- reaching political consequences. But the '90s were not just about them. Kornacki writes about Mario Cuomo's stubborn presence around Clinton's 1992 campaign; Hillary Clinton's star turn during the 1998 midterms, seeding the idea for her own candidacy; Ross Perot's wild run in 1992 that inspired him to launch the Reform Party, giving Donald Trump his first taste of electoral politics in 1999; and many others.
With novelistic prose and a clear sense of history, Kornacki masterfully weaves together the various elements of this rambunctious and hugely impactful era in American history, whose effects are still being felt today.
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A number of important personalities are discussed in the book including individuals such as President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Newt Gingrich, Mario Cuomo, Jesse Jackson, Pat Buchanan, and others. I taught college level American government in the 1990s, and thought Kornacki did a particularly good job in capturing the often visceral Republican hatred of Bill Clinton at the time, and their frequent willingness to believe virtually anything bad about him from any source. Ironically, this process may have benefited Clinton since any legitimate accusation against him could easily be lost in the maze of bizarre conspiracy theories, such as the so-called "murder" of Vince Foster. Kornacki also notes Hillary Clinton's unfortunate decision to walk directly into a Republican punch by claiming a "vast right-wing conspiracy." I have no doubt that she meant every word of that statement, but it did not do her any political good to say so.
Some reviewers have raised legitimate concerns about the large number of newspaper articles in Kornacki’s endnotes, but this is probably not a serious problem. Often journalists, such as Kornacki, are told a great deal "on background" or even "deep background" where they cannot reveal the sources, no matter how strong those sources may be. Thus, in a book length manuscript they often cite secondary sources that make the same point as their original source. I have done this myself in academic writing because I did not want to betray the confidential original source of my information. Also, Kornacki has some experienced and exceptionally intelligent people listed in his acknowledgements (at the back of the book) who helped him while writing the book. Whatever his sources of support and useful feedback, he has produced a deeply insightful study that is both nuanced and packed with facts. I strongly recommend this book.
Kornacki ties the polarization of politics to a new strategy devised by Gingrich. True enough as far as it goes but this narrative misses a fundamental point - Gingrich is a footnote to history without the groundwork laid by the right wing direct mail campaigns of the 80s, the rise of conservative talk radio (mainly Limbaugh in the early 90s), and later, the early internet BBS and Usenet groups. Gingrich "led" a revolution that had been created for someone to lead by others. Had someone like Gingrich attempted his tactics 20 years earlier, it would have been a complete failure.
Kornacki's singular focus on the political players and not the outside forces shaping their actions ultimately makes this book more of a recounting of well reported events than an insightful look back at how politics changed in the 90s.
I was very impressed at the depth of understanding the political climates during the period of Civil War through the ending of the Clinton years.
This is a book that takes serious thinking as you progress through history of the parties.
I was struck by his delivery on the changing fortunes of the parties and their leaders. It reads like an exciting thriller even though we already know all the results. For anyone who wants to be entertained while also getting a view into what has lead us to today you cannot find a better book. Please enjoy.
Kornacki knows more about politics than 99% of people in America. I look forward to his next book.
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