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Why We're Polarized

Narrated by: Ezra Klein
Length: 8 hrs and 32 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Politics
4.5 out of 5 stars (23 ratings)

Non-member price: $30.38

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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best seller

The Wall Street Journal best seller

America's political system isn't broken. The truth is scarier: it's working exactly as designed. In this book, journalist Ezra Klein reveals how that system is polarising us -and how we are polarizing it - with disastrous results.

"The American political system - which includes everyone from voters to journalists to the president - is full of rational actors making rational decisions given the incentives they face," writes political analyst Ezra Klein. "We are a collection of functional parts whose efforts combine into a dysfunctional whole.

In Why We're Polarised, Klein reveals the structural and psychological forces behind America's descent into division and dysfunction. Neither a polemic nor a lament, this book offers a clear framework for understanding everything from Trump's rise to the Democratic Party's leftward shift to the politicisation of everyday culture.

America is polarised, first and foremost, by identity. Everyone engaged in American politics is engaged, at some level, in identity politics. Over the past 50 years in America, our partisan identities have merged with our racial, religious, geographic, ideological and cultural identities. These merged identities have attained a weight that is breaking much in our politics and tearing at the bonds that hold this country together.

Klein shows how and why American politics polarised around identity in the 20th century, and what that polarisation did to the way we see the world and one another. And he traces the feedback loops between polarised political identities and polarised political institutions that are driving our system toward crisis.

This is a revelatory book that will change how you look at politics, and perhaps at yourself.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio on our Desktop Site.

©2020 Ezra Klein (P)2020 Hachette Audio UK

Critic Reviews

"It is likely to become the political book of the year...Powerful [and] intelligent." (Fareed Zakaria, CNN)

"Superbly researched and written..." (Francis Fukuyama, The Washington Post

"Few books are as well-matched to the moment of their publication as Ezra Klein's Why We're Polarized." (Dan Hopkins, The Washington Post)

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The sincerity I’ve come to expect from Klein

After years of listening to Ezra on the Ezra Klein show on the Vox podcast I built a familiarity with his way of thinking.
It was refreshing to hear the fruits of his labor and analysis on such a systemic and often undocumented explanation for the times we live in. He presents his research and weedsy review of social and political polarisation with humour and sincerity.
His underlying points were centred around the unique American experiment and history of the last 70-80 years and offers critiques of his own industry and of himself in a careful and considered way.
He focussed on the differences between the two major parties, and the convergence of the 20th century and especially the Clinton era that saw politics become more zero sum than an egalitarian means for governing.
He outlines how sorting played a significant role in today’s polarized world. And also how identities are activated for political opportunism, how race and status mobilises the right while the left competing with a broader identity class struggles to be all things to more people.
He gave examples of group think that were quite telling showing examples how a group could disadvantage themselves just so as they appear to disadvantage out groups or others. Our tribal minds at work.
The expression of negative politics is stronger in mobilising groups than giving people something to vote for as fear of the other catalyses.
The cast of the other is a strong threat multiplier.
Overall a very good read. Enjoyed Ezra’s narration and would definitely recommend it to anyone concerned about the state of politics around the world and not just America.

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Insightful

Incredibly insightful book which provides an understanding of the complex structures such as the internet, media, race, demographic changes, political donations, and many other structures that interact with human psychology to cause the polarised nature of modern politics.

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  • Jake carbone
  • 25-04-2020

A great guide to modern politics

Anyone interested in understanding modern US politics or politics in general should read/listen to this. Ezra Klein expertly describes how our sense of identity and political systems have lead to a increasingly polarized America, and how this lead to Trump's election