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Download Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent Audiobook, by E. J. Dionne Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (177 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: E. J. Dionne Narrator: Michael Kramer Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2012 ISBN: 9781452678467
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One of America’s most respected and well-known political analysts weighs in on what is tearing the country apart—the ascendancy of individualism and the diminishment of community—in a timely election season treatise.

Offering an incisive analysis of how hyper-individualism is poisoning the nation’s political atmosphere, E. J. Dionne Jr. argues that Americans can’t agree on who we are because we can’t agree on who we’ve been, or what it is, philosophically and spiritually, that makes us Americans. Dionne takes on the Tea Party’s distortions of American history and shows that the true American tradition points not to radical individualism, but to a balance between our love of individualism and our devotion to community.

Dionne offers both a fascinating tour of American history—from the Founding Fathers to Clay and Lincoln and on to the populists, the progressives, and the New Dealers—and also an analysis of our current politics that shatters conventional wisdom. The true American idea, far from endorsing government inaction or indifference, has always viewed the federal government as an active and constructive partner with the rest of society in promoting prosperity, opportunity, and American greatness.

The ability of the American system to self-correct is its greatest asset, and Dionne challenges progressives to embrace the American story. Our fractious but productive past offers us the resources both to rediscover the idea of progress and to put an end to our fears of decline. Our Divided Political Heart will be required listening for all who seek a path out of our current impasse.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “I just finished reading a book…It’s fascinating. It’s called Our Divided Political Heart by E. J. Dionne, who I think is one of our most thoughtful public philosophers. And it’s the best book he’s written in twenty years, in my opinion…I highly recommend it.”

    Bill Clinton

  • “An earnest effort to reach across the political divide…Dionne takes his readers on a richly researched tour of history to restore the broken consensus about who we are and what America stands for. His case is strong enough, serious enough, and grounded enough to challenge those on the other side of the divide to offer a counterargument as rigorously argued as this one.”

    Washington Post

  • “A well-mannered, thoughtful attempt to restore civic grace and productive political conversation.”

    Boston Globe

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ted Mallory | 2/13/2014

    " Outstanding interview with Jon Stewart that makes his preface sound fascinating. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steve | 2/12/2014

    " A study of the conflict between individualism and communalism in our nation's history and how that conflict has attained an intensity which threatens to undermine our political institutions and many of our supposed political ideals. The notion of unfettered individualism is fairly new, and although mostly an imaginary concept, according to Dionne, it is at the crux of our inability to know who we are or to agree even our history. Communalism has hithertofore tempered our cries for individualism or frontiersmanship in our political goals, but the new concept of individualism ignores that tempering perspective, according to Dionne and is cause for serious concern. It's an excellent study in American political history, a book everyone concerned about America's future should read. I highly recommend it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason | 2/7/2014

    " I have enjoyed watching E.J. contribute his vast political knowledge on many political news programs. He goes through a long history of American political theory leading up to the Long Consensus. This is a very interesting and masterful book about political history and theory. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janet Eshenroder | 1/25/2014

    " America has always struggled to balance our love of individual freedom and our devotion to community. It's easy in our partisan battles to forget this very real balance. Most interesting was the radical shift in each party's platform that left conservatives and progressives taking up the other side of the argument. Perhaps if people realized the history of their own party they would be less likely to dismiss or attack the "opposition." Our founding fathers compromised in hopes of finding a balance that is very much American. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Phyllis Duncan | 1/23/2014

    " This is a thoughtful and well-articulated explanation of how the Republican Party has morphed from the party of emancipation to the Tea Party and how that transformation has divided our country's heart. E.J. Dionne exposes the cynicism of the takeover of the Republican party by individualists, evangelicals, and birthers. As well, he shows how Liberals and Democrats were unprepared. An excellent read, especially if you're a history geek like I am. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marty | 1/20/2014

    " It is good. I wish now i had read it more compactly, rather than spread out like i did. Concerns our different and differing political goals. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael Diamond | 1/13/2014

    " Best sum-up I have read of our communitarian history. Dionne's politics take a back seat. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynn | 1/12/2014

    " This is a book about the history of politics in the US. It's a bit detailed but parts of it were really fascinating especially in this election year. It was a slog at times, but I'm glad I read it and besides I really like EJ Dionne. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Aaron Bouw | 1/3/2014

    " Interesting take on the importance of traditional American individualism vs the need for a stronger sense of sacrifice for the community and society as a whole. Written from the perspective of a progressive. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Harry Hemstreet | 12/24/2013

    " Dionne comes to this book with a wealth of impressive credentials. A really well done look at our political history and it's relevance to our current 'divided political heart'. Based on the recent election, some people must have been reading this. Excellent. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Larry | 11/30/2013

    " Mr. Dionne does an excellent job of tracing the history of politics in this country. His reasoning is sound if sometimes plodding. This is a good read of political junkies. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cynthia | 11/29/2013

    " I came back to the US after 30 years abroad and found myself utterly mystified by the assumptions and attitudes in economics and politics. E.J. Dionne explained so much. I may go back and read it again. Especially in connection with Ellis's First Family about John and Abigail Adams. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephanie | 10/4/2013

    " Smart and timely given the political stalemate esp in Congress. Puts things in context "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alexis | 7/5/2013

    " Very good book. I felt like it was a very honest left of center look at whats going on in politics, even if you don't agree with him that are many points that are beyond dispute particularly in the media. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lori | 6/27/2013

    " I learned a lot from the book, but found some parts hard to get through. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nick | 3/27/2013

    " On revisionist history and how important the process is to interpretations of contemporary political, economic, and civic identities. New to me. "

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About the Author

E. J. Dionne Jr. is an American journalist and political commentator and a long-time op-ed columnist for the Washington Post. He is also a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, University Professor in the Foundations of Democracy and Culture at McCourt School of Public Policy, a senior research fellow at Saint Anselm College, and a commentator for NPR. His published works include the influential bestseller Why Americans Hate Politics, They Only Look Dead, Souled Out, and Stand Up, Fight Back. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

About the Narrator

Michael Kramer has narrated many audiobooks over the last twenty years; his favorite authors include Donald E. Westlake, Thomas Perry, and Robert Jordan. He has received several AudioFile Earphones Awards for his work. He lives in the DC area, where he also works in theater as an actor and director.