The struggle between individual rights and the good of the community has been the basis of nearly every major disagreement in our history, from the debates at the Constitutional Convention to the fights surrounding the agendas of the Federalists, the Progressives, and the Tea Party. In American Character, Colin Woodard traces these key strands in American politics through the four centuries of the nation's existence, and how different regions of the country have successfully or disastrously accommodated them. Woodard argues that maintaining a liberal democracy requires finding a balance between protecting individual liberty and nurturing a free society. Going to either libertarian or collectivist extremes results in tyranny. But where does the "sweet spot" lie in the United States, a federation of disparate regional cultures that have always strongly disagreed on these issues? Woodard leads readers on a riveting and revealing journey through four centuries of struggle, experimentation, successes and failures to provide an answer.
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"Narrator Jonathan Yen's deep, friendly voice makes this discussion of our nation's values both accessible and lively. One of the main fault lines that runs through American life is the one that separates individualism from the notion of the common good. Woodard's audiobook explores this separation from the dawn of the United States in 1776 through the present day, focusing on how we've alternated between eras when the individual was king, such as the mid-eighteenth century, to eras when social change required that the American community be viewed as more important. Yen varies his tone, creates characters, and reads at an energetic pace that keeps the book moving. He also pauses to let us process the information and seems to be enjoying narrating the book for listeners. R.I.G. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine"
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