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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

"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)

"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

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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

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