A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars
When Patrick Buchanan took the stage at the Republican National Convention in 1992 and proclaimed, “There is a religious war going on for the soul of our country,” his audience knew what he was talking about: the culture wars, which had raged throughout the previous decade and would continue until the century’s end, pitting conservative and religious Americans against their liberal, secular fellow citizens. It was an era marked by polarization and posturing fueled by deep-rooted anger and insecurity.
Buchanan’s fiery speech marked a high point in the culture wars, but as Andrew Hartman shows in this richly analytical history, their roots lay farther back, in the tumult of the 1960s—and their significance is much greater than generally assumed. Far more than a mere sideshow or shouting match, the culture wars, Hartman argues, were the very public face of America’s struggle over the unprecedented social changes of the period, as the cluster of social norms that had long governed American life began to give way to a new openness to different ideas, identities, and articulations of what it meant to be an American. The hot-button issues like abortion, affirmative action, art, censorship, feminism, and homosexuality that dominated politics in the period were symptoms of the larger struggle, as conservative Americans slowly began to acknowledge—if initially through rejection—many fundamental transformations of American life.
As an ever-more partisan but also an ever-more diverse and accepting America continues to find its way in a changing world, A War for the Soul of America reminds us of how we got here, and what all the shouting has really been about.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
The Sixties as Liberation
The Neoconservative Kulturkämpfe
Taking Gods Country Back
The Color Line
The Trouble with Gender
The Sacred and the Profane
God State and Curriculum
Other editions - View all
abortion academic American argued argument became become believed Bloom called changes Christian Christian Right civil claimed common conservatives contended controversy course Court critics culture wars curriculum debate difference efforts equality evangelical fact feminism feminist forces gender George given grounds helped historians homosexuality human idea identity important institutions intellectual issue John Left less letter liberal Live majority meaning Mind moral movement Moynihan needed neoconservatives norms Podhoretz political pornography position Power president public schools quoted race racial radical Reagan religious Report represented response Review rhetoric role schools secular seemed Senate served sexual sixties social society sought standards studies teachers teaching theory thought tion traditional truth United University Press values Western women wrote York