The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-minded America is Tearing Us Apart

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008 - Political Science - 370 pages
52 Reviews
The untold story of why America is so culturally and politically divided

America may be more diverse than ever coast to coast, but the places where we live are becoming increasingly crowded with people who live, think, and vote as we do. This social transformation didn't happed by accident. Weíve built a country where we can all choose the neighborhood -- and religion and news show -- most compatible with our lifestyle and beliefs. And we are living with the consequences of this way-of-life segregation. Our country has become so polarized, so ideologically inbred, that people donít know and canít understand those who live just a few miles away. The reason for this situation, and the dire implications for our country, is the subject of this groundbreaking work.

In 2004, the journalist Bill Bishop, armed with original and startling demographic data, made national news in a series of articles showing how Americans have been sorting themselves over the past three decades into alarmingly homogeneous communities -- not by region or by red state or blue state, but by city and even neighborhood. In The Big Sort, Bishop deepens his analysis in a brilliantly reported book that makes its case from the ground up, starting with stories about how we live today and then drawing on history, economics, and our changing political landscape to create one of the most compelling big-picture accounts of America in recent memory.

The Big Sort will draw comparisons to Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone and Richard Florida's The Rise of the Creative Class and will redefine the way Americans think about themselves for decades to come.
  

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Review: The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart

User Review  - Eduardo Santiago - Goodreads

The most frightening book I've read in years. Too depressing to read; too well-written and informative to put down. Nearly every page had information or insights that were new to me: did you know that ... Read full review

Review: The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart

User Review  - Alan - Goodreads

Maybe because it's part of my job to understand how people think or what drives them to make certain decisions that The Big Sort has had such a big impact on my thinking. Its thesis, in brief, is this ... Read full review

All 6 reviews »

Contents

The Age of Political Segregation
19
The Politics of Migration
41
The Psychology of the Tribe
58
The Silent Revolution
79
Culture Shift The 1965 Unraveling
81
The Beginning of Division Beauty and Salvation in 1974
105
The Economics of the Big Sort Culture and Growth in the 1990s
129
The Way We Live Today
157
Lifestyle Books Beer Bikes and Birkenstocks
196
The Politics of People Like Us
219
Choosing a Side
221
The Big Sort Campaign
249
To Marry Your Enemies
276
Acknowledgments
307
Notes
310
Selected Bibliography
337

Religion The Missionary and the Megachurch
159
Advertising Grace Slick Tricia Nixon and You
182

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About the author (2008)

Bill Bishop was a reporter at the Austin American-Statesman when he began research on city growth and political polarization with sociologist and statistician Robert Cushing. Bishop has worked as a columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader, and, with his wife, owned and operated The Bastrop County Times, a weekly newspaper in Smithville, Texas. He lives in Austin, Texas.

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