Cover: American Politics: The Promise of Disharmony, from Harvard University PressCover: American Politics in PAPERBACK

American Politics

The Promise of Disharmony

Product Details


$37.00 • £32.95 • €33.95

ISBN 9780674030213

Publication Date: 08/15/1983

Academic Trade

320 pages

6 tables, 1 line illustration

Belknap Press


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Huntington’s underappreciated 1981 masterpiece… Describes an ineradicable tension between America’s ideals and the actual practice of our politics… Offers insights about our own moment.—Yuval Levin, The New York Times

More than his famous ‘clash of civilizations’ thesis of the 1990s, it is this lesser-known 1981 work that most clearly speaks to our time. Huntington points to the gap between the values of the American creed (liberty, equality, individualism, constitutionalism) and the government’s efforts to live up to those values as the central tension of national life.—Carlos Lozada, The Washington Post

[A] brilliant book… [Huntington addresses] contemporary concerns with a masterly command of theory and history which will ensure his book an enduring place as a work of scholarship.The New Republic

An illuminating book, ambitious in range and ingenious in analysis… Filled with imaginative insights.The New York Times Book Review

An exceptional book, combining political theory with American history and contemporary policy analysis in a fashion that will challenge and inform any reader interested in the American experience.The Boston Globe

[Huntington] squarely confronts the problem of legitimating American power at home and abroad and argues persuasively…for his exceptionalist political vision. Few have the courage—fewer the talent—to pose and systematically answer the critical questions that Huntington raises.American Political Science Review

Professor Huntington has brilliantly set forth the persisting conflict between American ideals and American institutions which can energize our society or paralyze it, depending on whether it is understood for what it is. A liberating insight; a brilliant book.—Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan

This controversial book will spark considerable debate about American values, the origins and meaning of reform, and foreign policy. It will influence current discussions of the United States, and it will change the way we think about American political and social behavior.—Seymour Martin Lipset, Stanford University

Samuel Huntington is not only a preeminent scholar of modern governing institutions and their underlying ideas, democratic and otherwise; he has also often served as adviser to policymakers in several nations, including our own. His book should be read by everyone who is concerned with the capacity of our institutions to meet the fearful challenges they now face.—Austin Ranney, American Enterprise Institute

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