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Courtwright likens the conflict over abortion in our time to the conflict over slavery during the antebellum era.


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For him, abortion haunts every significant skirmish -- not just the Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas confirmation controversies but even "the climactic battle of the Culture War," the Lewinsky scandal and the debates in Congress over Bill Clinton's impeachment. There is much to admire here. Though the prose is sometimes too cute, No Right Turn is a wonderful read. He has gone to all the archives, interviewed all the right people, and thought deeply about his findings. Pundits, pollsters, and other scholars have made the broad contours of his argument familiar, but he tells his story with plenty of fresh twists and turns.

Yet Courtwright's history is also idiosyncratic. Just as he places too much blame on feminists for Carter's failures, so he makes abortion carry too heavy a load. True, the survival of abortion is a symptom of "a larger failure to restrict behavior once deemed criminal or deviant.

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To him, though, they are all part of the backdrop to abortion. Immigration restriction and affirmative action only merit sustained discussion when the Reaganites do not want to risk "offending employers who hired low-cost nonunion Latino and Asian workers under a diversity rationale.

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Where are the arguments about affirmative action that vexed higher education and the workplace from DeFunis and Bakke through Gratz and Grutter , the steelworkers in Weber through the New Haven firefighters in Ricci? It's also not clear that abortion has been so divisive.

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Not even all who equate abortion with murder want to outlaw it, and popular support for keeping abortion legal has remained consistently strong over time. Indeed, in their book Culture War?

The pattern is one of partisan elite, not popular, polarization. These findings are not inconsistent with Courtwright's. They do, however, make one wonder whether, as Courtwright concludes, the year period from to should be called "the Culture War. Whatever you call the era, Courtwright's provocative book raises two obvious questions: Is it over, and if so, what's next?


  • Book Review - Right Star Rising - A New Politics, - By Laura Kalman - The New York Times.
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    Laura Kalman

    Right star rising : a new politics, Norton New York. Tells the history of the Ford-Carter years, discusses the relevance of the period's politics on today's issues, and explains its shaping of the current political environment.


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      Eminent Historian Traces Trends in Conservatism | The Daily Nexus

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      Browse titles authors subjects uniform titles series callnumbers dewey numbers starting from optional. Kalman is the first historian to write so full a treatment of the rapid ascendancy of conservatives from the doldrums of Richard M. Nixon's resignation to the glorious day when Ronald Reagan drubbed Jimmy Carter. A distinguished legal historian, she handles pivotal Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action and school busing Most users should sign in with their email address.

      Eminent Historian Traces Trends in Conservatism

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