Exceptional book revealing how religious fundamentalism and rightwing politics have become linked together and is having considerable influence in Kansas. A bestseller. (A friend however who is from Kansas says that the book is not completely true; that it focuses on those in rural areas rather than urban Kansasites)
An excellent book, though it didn't quite live up to my expectations of what it would be. The anecdotes were relevant, well-explained, and thoroughly analyzed. Where I felt the book was lacking was to outline more concrete actions to combat the problems facing progressives, as detailed in the book. There was a lot of "So-and-so did this and it worked...," but not so much "... and here's how we can fight this in the future." However, this book is definitely recommended reading for anyone working for or with a progressive group.
Heloise reviewed What's the Matter with Kansas? : How Conservatives Won the Heart of America on
Helpful Score: 4
From the book's cover: Thomas Frank, a native Kansan and onetime conservative, seeks to answer some fundamental American riddles: Who do so many Americans vote against their economic and social interests? Where's the outrage at corporate thievery? Why do illusory slights to the Ten Commandments trouble some people more than do the prospects of falling wages or monopoly power or the destruction of their very way of life?
Id' agree with most everything the author says (I wouldn't call it a left-wing "rant" like one of the previous reviewers, but then, I have rarely read a left wing rant - I've read or looked at thousands of right-wing rants). He does seem to miss something fundamental about the way people come up with their political affiliations, I don't know how I can explain it.
A left leaning rant about politics circa 2004. While interesting for some of the history it presents, it's still a political rant, and at times it is hard to tell truth from the author's opinion.
With the election of 2008 coming up as I write this, some of what you'll read here has a different spin now, but it is still worth reading if you're interested in politics and can keep a jaundiced eye on things as you do so.
I read this at the same time as "PrairyErth", a book about a certain area of Kansas, it was an interesting contrast. Frank in his book paints a picture of the political life of Kansas in vivid colors, but somehow, I think he misses something, I think there may be other subtle forces at work than what is described in Frank's book.
It was really hard to slog through this book. The author either made no attempt to actually talk to people who vote conservatively or he couldn't understand what they were telling him (Or they saw him as a lost cause and didn't waste their breath.) He keeps repeating the same old tired matras that liberals keep saying about conservatives. His logic was circular, using unproven "wisdom" to support his final destination. In the end, he was just too condescending for this conservative to take seriously. It only proved what I already know--that liberals don't want to spend the time and effort to understand those who don't think like they do.