The Trouble with America : Flawed Government, Failed Society
The Trouble with America critiques the theory and practice of American government-government too weak to solve our public problems, restrained more in its ability to do good than in its ability to do harm, and grossly unfair to the poor and middle classes. As a result, we Americans find ourselves with poor leadership, inadequate representation, failing policies, and a pathological culture.
- Hardback | 164 pages
- 149.86 x 231.14 x 20.32mm | 385.55g
- 16 Jan 2009
- Lexington Books
- Lanham, MD, United States
Professor Long is far too modest in presenting this work as an 'ancillary text.' It indeed fulfills that purpose by presenting students with a carefully articulated critical evaluation of American politics and government, but it also offers students, scholars, and laypersons a tightly argued and empirically supported analysis of the nature of our political system. Long forcefully demonstrates how the very values and institutions (pluralism, constitutionalism, and capitalism) which we associate with the success of American democracy contain indigenous pathologies that often subvert our best intentions and hopes. This work, however, is far from a Jeremiad. It is premised on the assumption that the path forward can be discerned by illuminating the political ecology through which it must pass. -- John G. Gunnell, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany-SUNY Not since Duane Lockard's 1971 The Perverted Priorities of American Politics or Howard Zinn's or Noam Chomsky's more recent body blows to the establishment have we had such a fresh and deep critique of our beloved system. This self-styled 'irreverent' volume is no lightweight piece of dilettantism, nor is it the counterfactual rant of an ideologue. However much discomfort it may engender, it is clearly based on fundamental and comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the core institutions of American government, both in their historical formation and their current operation. The book's argument that the inadequacies were intentionally structured into the very institutions that govern us is, to me, enormously persuasive. That's why I 'salivate' over using it as a counter to one of the many apologias for our current system of governance, whether it be in the basic American Government course or in American Political Thought. Imagine the class discussion! -- Harald M. Sandstrom, University of Hartford Kenneth Long's slender volume lands a heavy blow against American triumphalism. In The Trouble with America, Long unapologetically interrogates the sacred principles and practices of American government, exposing them as seductive shibboleths that cloak the discrimination, disenfranchisement, and dysfunction that Long maintains have characterized the American experiment since its beginning. Few will read this ostentatiously polemical book without experiencing some discomfort or even outrage. But fewer still will finish The Trouble with America feeling confident that the American polity's commitment to pluralism, constitutionalism, and capitalism can create either now or in the future a country in which all Americans can 'lift up their voices.' -- Ronald P. Seyb, Skidmore College The Trouble with America is an important contribution to the political science literature. It is thoroughly researched, provocative, skillfully written and interesting throughout. Long's book will be appreciated by scholars and students alike for its broad and insightful perspective on American politics and public policy. -- Stefanie Chambers, Trinity College The book succeeds...It presents a provocative counterpoint to mainstream textbooks, and would challenge students in a number of areas. New Political Science
About Kenneth J. Long
Kenneth J. Long is professor of history and political science at Saint Joseph College.
Table of contents
Chapter 1 Introduction: Where the Trouble Lies Part 2 Part I: The Roots of the Trouble Chapter 3 Chapter 1. Pluralism and its Discontents Chapter 4 Chapter 2. Constitutionalism and the Limitation of Virtue Chapter 5 Chapter 3. Capitalism and the Ethos of Greed Part 6 Part II. The Trouble Itself Chapter 7 Chapter 4. Making a Mess of Things at Home: American Domestic Policy Chapter 8 Chapter 5. A Menace to the World: American Foreign Policy Chapter 9 Postscript: Is American Reparable?