Polarisation is often invoked as proof that our societies are broken but what if it's really the system working as intended?
The New York Times Bestseller
The Wall Street Journal Bestseller
"Few books are as well-matched to the moment of their publication as Ezra Klein's Why We're Polarised." --Dan Hopkins, The Washington Post
"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
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 fifty 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 twentieth century, and what that polarisation did to the way we see the world and one another. And he traces the feedback loops between polarized 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.
'Even at his most wonky, a deep strain of humanism runs through [Klein's] journalism and that infuses his new book, Why We're Polarized.' - On Being
'By weaving together a composite of group psychological theory and political history in the trademark, rigorously logical style of Vox's Explainer series, journalism, Klein traces the path of polarization from a time when the Republican and Democratic parties were virtually indistinguishable from each other to today.' - Seattle Times
It's been a long time since I learned so much from one book. He shows just how broken the American political system is.' - Utopia for Realists
'Eye-opening . . . Klein's brilliant diagnosis and prescription provide a path to understanding--and healing.' - O Magazine