The Cousins' Wars: Religion, Politics, and the Triumph of Anglo-America

Kevin P. Phillips, Author, Kevin P. Phillips, Preface by Basic Books $35 (707p) ISBN 978-0-465-01369-2
Phillips (Arrogant Capital) is one of the most influential political analysts in America. In 1969, his The Emerging Republican Majority correctly predicted that the Republicans would become the majority party by taking control of the then Democratic South. Now, turning to the past, he offers this ambitious account of how ""Anglo-America""--his term for the cultural and political axis and kinship of the U.S. and Britain--came to dominate the political, linguistic and economic shape of the world. His thesis is sweeping: a trio of wars--the English Civil War, the American Revolution and the U.S. Civil War--were a single crucible out of which a dominant Anglo-America emerged. In each of these ""cousins' wars,"" maintains Phillips, the catalytic groups were similar: Puritans from Eastern England (East Anglia) in the 1640s; their Yankee descendants in New England in 1775 and 1860. Moreover, he argues, each of the three wars reaffirmed and spurred Anglo-America's expansionism, as well as the belief of British imperialists and American pioneers that they were God's chosen people with a manifest destiny to fulfill. Phillips emphasizes the plight of the cousins' wars' principal losers: black slaves and ex-slaves, Native Americans, the Irish. Interestingly, he counts Germans among the losers, arguing that Anglo-American ascendancy and waves of European emigration to the U.S. diminished the relative clout of German-Americans and thwarted Germany's expansionist ambitions. As in his political analyses, Phillips pays close attention to ethnic, religious, class and electoral divisions. At times, his thoroughness makes for slow, somewhat wonky going, but on balance this is a tremendously rewarding work full of startling connections and provocative syntheses. Agent, Bill Leigh. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/30/1998
Release date: 12/01/1998
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