What I’m reading – The New York Times
Lately, I’ve been writing a lot about America in the 1960s and how the civil rights backlash has paved the way for the hardline stances of the modern Republican Party. gun control and ban abortion. But I didn’t spend much time looking at what happened in the Democratic Party that enabled that seismic shift to happen. So this week I fixed that with a huge pile of holiday reading books:
“Racial Distribution: The Transformation of American Liberalism, 1932–1965“By Eric Schickler, making the case that the Democratic Party’s embrace of civil rights, as is commonly seen, was not a top-down elite project that took place in the 1960s but rather a campaign to cause bottom-up pressure in which the Democratic Party is lower. The constituencies, especially the industrial labor unions of the northern states, pressured the party to adopt a civil rights cause.
To understand why that happened, it’s important to understand the Great Migration, the mass exodus of black Americans out of the South and into Northern cities. They went on to become an important constituency for the union movement and for the Democratic Party, putting fundamental pressure on the passage of the civil rights platform. So, for a better understanding of that period, I’ll go back to Isabel Wilkerson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning paper.”The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of the Great American Migration. “
To expand my history pane, I selected “What it took to win: A History of the Democratic PartyBy Michael Kazin, traces the party’s history from Andrew Jackson to Joe Biden, and includes analysis of the modern era of the party’s urban cosmology.
And for the flashback pop culture metaframe, I also looked at “Challenge of Chicago 7Aaron Sorkin dramatizes the 1968 trial of a group of anti-Vietnam War protesters, which AO Scott described in his Times. review as “a Very Special Sober Volume of ‘Drunk History.’” One day I will write the essay that has been instilling in my mind for years about Sorkin’s work exposing the subject’s blind spots. American liberalism. Today is not that day.
Books that bring you joy this summer
Kate Godfrey, a reader in Oakland, California, recommends “Joan is fineBy Weike Wang:
It’s on the shelf of the local library. I am a retired graphic designer. I love the cover. No textual expectations. Inside is a story about a dedicated medical professional questioning the meaning of life and family. A great story about loyalty to self and others.
Christina Arrostuto, a reader in Auburn, California, recommends “New York, New York, New York: Four Decades of Success, Redundancy, and TransformationBy Thomas Dyja:
I look forward to learning more about my dear city. What I did not expect was a thorough but concise, concise, and profound retelling of the social, political, economic, and humanistic forces that swept not only New York but the whole of the United States. Ky throughout my childhood. Mr Dyja has created an anthropological mosaic that brings all of our present joys and sorrows into sharp reliefs. Between the lines, I can see a path for both to continue on paths that tend to be progressive in the betterment of our society and, while discouraged, to change direction on issues. caused too much suffering.
What are you reading?
Thank you to everyone who has written to me about what you are reading. Please keep the postings coming!
I want to hear about things you read (or watched or heard) that made you realize you were wrong about something, no matter how petty the revelation. Tell me what it was and how it changed your mind.