cover image Divided They Fell: The Demise of the Democratic Party, 1964-1996

Divided They Fell: The Demise of the Democratic Party, 1964-1996

Ronald Radosh, Radosh. Free Press, $19.5 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-684-82810-7

Radosh, who calls himself a center-right Democrat, contends that the Democratic Party has shifted to the left in the 1990s, that it is bereft of ideas and has collapsed beyond repair because it fails to reflect post-Cold War America's support for fiscal and personal responsibility, cultural conservatism and a more limited social safety net. An Adelphi University history professor and author of The Rosenberg File: A Search for the Truth, Radosh sees the Democrats' slow decline as a tragedy of overreaching, whether in the mid-1960s when, in his view, disastrous overreactions to the civil rights movement led to the party's takeover by guilty white liberals and race-conscious black militants; or in Clinton's failed attempt to erect a vast, coercive health care bureaucracy. His hero is New Deal Senator Henry ""Scoop"" Jackson, whose loss of the 1972 presidential nomination to leftish George McGovern caused the party's center to erode. This trenchant, tightly argued political history of the unraveling of the New Deal-cemented liberal-labor coalition that sustained the Democratic Party for decades is sure to be controversial. Translation and U.K. rights: Simon & Schuster. (Aug.)