Kevin Kruse and Julian Zelizer are award-winning scholars of twentieth-century political history. They go where many other historians have feared to tread, presenting a multileveled view of contemporary America starting in 1974 with the jolting and unprepared for crises of Watergate, the resignation of President Richard Nixon, stagflation, racial unrest, feminism, gay rights and the fallout from the greatest energy crisis ever. They end with the election of Donald Trump which they conclude "represented a stark departure from the norms of American politics and government."
They mine the meanings of President Obama's 2017 farewell address in which he outlined four fault lines of division in the United States: economic, racial, gender, and sexuality. How did this country "fall into such a state of division and discord"? Kruse and Zelizer point to a widespread lack of trust in government, pack journalism, the struggle for black equality, the rise of the religious right, the end of the Cold War, and the ill-effects of partisanship with Republicans having the upper hand during this catastrophic period.
Kruse and Zelizer turned the material in Fault Lines into a popular course they co-created at Princeton University. Hats off to these adventuresome historians who have fashioned a rip-roaring account of our divided nation.