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Short Synopsis
How did we get into this mess? Every morning, many Americans ask this as, with a cringe, they pick up their phones and look to see what terrible thing President Trump has just said or done. A second question comes hard on the heels of the first: How on earth do we get out of this? Alan Wolfe has an answer.

Full Synopsis
In The Politics of Petulance Alan Wolfe argues the core of our problem isn't Trump himself—it's that we are mired in an age of political immaturity. That immaturity is not grounded in any one ideology, nor is it a function of age or education. In 2016, many Americans were offered tantalizingly simple answers to complicated problems, and, like children being offered a lunch of Pop Rocks and Coke, they reflexively—and mindlessly—accepted.

The good news is that we've been here before. Wolfe reminds us that we know how to grow up and face down Trump and other demagogues. Wolfe reinvigorates the tradition of public engagement exemplified by mid-century intellectuals such as Richard Hofstadter, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Lionel Trilling—and he draws lessons from their battles with McCarthyism and conspiratorial paranoia. Wolfe mounts a powerful case that we can learn from them to forge a new path for political intervention today.

Wolfe has been thinking and writing about American life and politics for decades. He sees this moment as one of real risk. But he's not throwing up his hands; he's bracing us. We've faced demagogues before. We can find the intellectual maturity to fight back. Yes we can.

"The edge in [Heller's] tone captures the author's conviction and works well with the sometimes searing critiques that Wolfe offers." -AudioFile

"A withering broadside against the immaturity that infests American politics, revealing itself in populism and demagoguery. Both the left and the right take it on the chin in this tough-minded analysis by Wolfe. . . . This is a persuasive and alarming book." -Kirkus Reviews

"By instructing and inspiring, this book's quest for democratic maturity will stimulate rich conversation about knowledge and responsibility, not only within the academy but well beyond." -Ira Katznelson, author of Fear Itself

The Politics of Petulance

America in an Age of Immaturity

Author Alan Wolfe

Narrated by Johnny Heller

Publication date Oct 6, 2018

Running time 6 hrs 25 min

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