Cover: The Promise of Party in a Polarized Age, from Harvard University PressCover: The Promise of Party in a Polarized Age in HARDCOVER

The Promise of Party in a Polarized Age

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Product Details


$40.00 • £32.95 • €36.00

ISBN 9780674046832

Publication Date: 09/08/2014

Academic Trade

336 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches


Muirhead combats the negative connotations of partisanship in the United States. Although he treasures his friends who agree with him on vital issues decided by legislatures, presidents and judges, the author also values his friends who disagree with him. Their thinking, he writes, provokes him to marshal his arguments and stimulate his mind to consider alternatives. To Muirhead, political disagreements should be resolved through dialogue and active discussion whenever practical. In this philosophical but clearly written book, the author examines how party loyalists can reach common ground, providing ample real-world examples of successful bipartisanship.Kirkus Reviews

Muirhead brings us a thoughtful consideration of partisanship in American politics, which by his lights ‘encounters fewer limits’ than in the past and ‘threatens to render the government incapable of governing.’ Party politics ‘have lost their veneer of civility and mutual respect’ and are less bridled by ‘constitutional propriety.’ The common good, he warns, is the loser in all this. Muirhead dissects the ambition of power seekers, mindset of moral purists, and unreason of zealots of all persuasions… This sensible, readable book deserves more than an academic audience. It might serve as remedial fare for elected officials and party leaders with a vested interest in self-promotional polarities.Publishers Weekly

At a time of partisan gridlock, Russ Muirhead challenges conventional wisdom and offers a bold, compelling defense of ‘party spirit.’ The solution to the polarized politics of today is not bipartisan or post-partisan politics, he argues, but a better kind of partisanship. This illuminating account of the role party loyalties should play in democratic life will find its place among the classics of the field—Samuel Beer, E. E. Schattschneider, Woodrow Wilson, Edmund Burke.—Michael J. Sandel, author of What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets

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To celebrate Pride Month, we are highlighting excerpts from books that explore the lives and experiences of the LGBT+ community. Nathaniel Frank’s Awakening: How Gays and Lesbians Brought Marriage Equality to America tells the dramatic story of the struggle for same-sex couples to legally marry, something that is now taken for granted. Below, he describes the beginnings of the gay rights movement. For homophiles of the 1950s, identifying as gay was almost always a risky and radical act