Sunday, July 13, 2008

Pg. 99: Allan J. Lichtman's "White Protestant Nation"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Allan J. Lichtman's White Protestant Nation: The Rise of the American Conservative Movement.

About the book, from the publisher:
Spanning nearly one hundred years of American political history, and abounding with outsize characters—from Lindbergh to Goldwater to Gingrich to Abramoff—White Protestant Nation offers a penetrating look at the origins, evolution, and triumph (at times) of modern conservatism.

In the long-awaited new book from the author of The Keys to the White House—which The Baltimore Sun called “a must book for political junkies” and which remains influential after more than fifteen years in print—Allan J. Lichtman has produced a deft and wide-ranging examination of the rise of conservatism in America from the end of World War I to today.

Lichtman is both a professor of political history at American University and a veteran journalist, and after ten years of prodigious research, he has produced what may be the definitive history of the modern conservative movement in America. He has combed through nearly one hundred manuscript collections— he has the confidential memos of Billy Graham, Dick Armey, and many others; the internal strategy papers of the big foundations; the secret correspondence between William F. Buckley Jr. and the Franco regime; and much more—to capture the entire tapestry and trajectory of the conservative movement.

He brings to life a gallery of dynamic right-wing personalities, from luminaries such as Strom Thurmond, Phyllis Schlafly, and Bill Kristol to indispensable inside operators like financiers Frank Gannett and J. Howard Pew. He explodes the conventional wisdom that modern conservative politics began with Goldwater and instead traces the roots of today’s movement to the 1920s. He shows how modern conservatism was born out of post–World War I fears that secular, pluralistic, and cosmopolitan forces threatened America’s national identity. And he lays bare the tactics that conservatives have used for generations to put their slant on policy and culture; to choke the growth of the liberal state; and to build the most powerful media, fundraising, and intellectual network in the history of representative government.

Perfect for readers of Thomas Frank, Kevin Phillips, and John Dean, and a natural counterpart to The Good Fight, Peter Beinart’s recent book on liberalism, White Protestant Nation is entertaining, provocative, enlightening, and essential reading for anyone who cares about modern American politics and its history.
Among the praise for White Protestant Nation:
"Allan Lichtman is one the keenest analysts of American politics today. He's almost never wrong, and he is always brilliant and fascinating."
--Robert Kagan, author of Dangerous Nation and Of Paradise and Power

"Allan Lichtman has undertaken an important, insightful and timely study, and his well-written report in White Protestant Nation provides true insight into modern conservatism."
--John W. Dean, former Nixon White House counsel and author of Pure Goldwater

"Penetrating, detailed, and astute, Allan Lichtman's White Protestant Nation reveals the deep motivations behind modern American conservatism--and in the process shows us why that movement faces political decline despite its power and wealth."
--Joe Conason, author of It Can Happen Here

"White Protestant Nation is an absolutely essential chronicle of the rise of the conservative movement. We have read this story in parts, but now Lichtman has brought it together in a compelling and illuminating narrative."
--Max Blumenthal, the Nation Institute

"Allan Lichtman's new book breaks important ground. Based on an extraordinary range of archival sources, he reminds us that conservatism is not the recent product of Ronald Reagan or Karl Rove, but is deeply embedded in more than a century of American politics and culture."
--Robert Griffith, author of The Politics of Fear: Joseph R. McCarthy and the Senate

"Impressive . . . Comprehensive . . . With an extraordinary breadth of vision and an impressive grasp of the forces that shape political history, the author examines the many forces underlying modern conservatism and lays out some of the challenges it faces.... An important examination of the political, moral, and economic forces that continue to shape the movement."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Lichtman profiles the behind-the-scenes operators who have crafted the marching orders for right-wing Americans in the last half-century.... As a structural blueprint of conservative political power ... this book is without peer, giving readers a wonderful historical survey of the last eighty years of conservative politics."
--Publishers Weekly
Read an excerpt from White Protestant Nation, and learn more about White Protestant Nation at the publisher's website.

Allan J. Lichtman is a Professor in the Department of History at American University. His previous books include Prejudice and Old Politics: The Presidential Election of 1928; Your Family History; Ecological Inference; The 13 Keys to the Presidency; and The Keys to the White House: 2008 Edition.

The Page 99 Test: White Protestant Nation.

--Marshal Zeringue