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What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America

ISBN: 9780805077742 | 080507774X
Edition: Reprint
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Holt Paperbacks
Pub. Date: 5/1/2005

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With a New Afterword by the Author The New York Timesbestseller, praised as "hilariously funny . . . the only way to understand why so many Americans have decided to vote against their own economic and political interests" (Molly Ivins) Hailed as "dazzlingly insightful and wonderfully sardonic" (Chicago Tribune), "very funny and very painful" (San Francisco Chronicle), and "in a different league from most political books" (The New York Observer),What's the Matter with Kansas?unravels the great political mystery of our day: Why do so many Americans vote against their economic and social interests? With his acclaimed wit and acuity, Thomas Frank answers the riddle by examining his home state, Kansas-a place once famous for its radicalism that now ranks among the nation's most eager participants in the culture wars. Charting what he calls the "thirty-year backlash"-the popular revolt against a supposedly liberal establishment-Frank reveals how conservatism, once a marker of class privilege, became the creed of millions of ordinary Americans. A brilliant analysis-and funny to boot-What's the Matter with Kansas?is a vivid portrait of an upside-down world where blue-collar patriots recite the Pledge while they strangle their life chances; where small farmers cast their votes for a Wall Street order that will eventually push them off their land; and where a group of frat boys, lawyers, and CEOs has managed to convince the country that it speaks on behalf of the People. Thomas Frank, the founding editor ofThe Baffler, is the author ofOne Market Under GodandThe Conquest of Cool. He writes frequently forHarper's Magazine,The Nation, andLe Monde diplomatique. Winner of the Midwest Booksellers' Choice Award A veteran author and journalist, and a native Kansan and former conservative, Thomas Frank here explores such fundamental American riddles as: Why do so many Americans vote against their economic and social interests? Where's the outrage over all the recent corporate thievery? Why do illusionary slights to the Ten Commandments trouble some people more than do the prospects of falling wages, or monopoly power, or the destruction of their very way of life? This timely, well-written, and widely acclaimed bookequal parts brilliant political analysis and wry, readable memoir, and already deemed by some a contemporary classicfully investigates these questions by examining the conservative revolution in the author's home state over the last several decades. Kansas, which has lately drawn the astonished attention of the world for its unlikely skirmishes over abortion and homosexuality, is in step with much of mid-America, Frank explains, in that its economic losers are even more committed to the Republican agenda than are its winners. Indeed, the Sunflower State's low-wage slaughterhouse workers and struggling farm-town citizens today far outdo its real-estate millionaires and prosperous telecom executives in their dedication to a political program that can only wind up harming them. How, and why, did this happenin Kansas and elsewhere throughout the United States? What's the Matter with Kansas?is a vivid, refreshingly witty portrait of an upside-down country where blue-collar patriots recite the Pledge while they strangle their life chances; where farmers cast votes for an economic order that will eventually push them off the land; and where a group of right-wing frat boys, lawyers, and CEOs has managed to convince the world that it speaks on behalf of America's common people. Winner of the Midwest Booksellers' Choice Award "This fresh and engaging book stands out in the torrent of political screeds now pouring of


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