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What's the Matter with Kansas?

How Conservatives Won the Heart of America

Thomas Frank, with a new afterword

Holt Paperbacks

With a New Afterword by the Author

The New York Times bestseller, praised as "hilariously funny . . . the only way to understand why so many Americans have decided to vote against their own economic and political interests" (Molly Ivins)

Hailed as "dazzlingly insightful and wonderfully sardonic" (Chicago Tribune), "very funny and very painful" (San Francisco Chronicle), and "in a different league from most political books" (The New York Observer), What's the Matter with Kansas? unravels the great political mystery of our day: Why do so many Americans vote against their economic and social interests? With his acclaimed wit and acuity, Thomas Frank answers the riddle by examining his home state, Kansas-a place once famous for its radicalism that now ranks among the nation's most eager participants in the culture wars. Charting what he calls the "thirty-year backlash"-the popular revolt against a supposedly liberal establishment-Frank reveals how conservatism, once a marker of class privilege, became the creed of millions of ordinary Americans.

A brilliant analysis-and funny to boot-What's the Matter with Kansas? is a vivid portrait of an upside-down world where blue-collar patriots recite the Pledge while they strangle their life chances; where small farmers cast their votes for a Wall Street order that will eventually push them off their land; and where a group of frat boys, lawyers, and CEOs has managed to convince the country that it speaks on behalf of the People.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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Introduction

What's the Matter with America?

The poorest county in America isn't in Appalachia or the Deep South. It is on the Great Plains, a region of struggling ranchers and dying farm towns, and in the election of 2000 the Republican candidate for president, George W. Bush, carried it by a majority of greater than 80 percent.1

This puzzled me when I first read about it, as it puzzles many of the people I know. For us it is the Democrats that are the party of workers, of the poor, of the weak and the victimized. Understanding this, we think, is basic; it is part of the ABCs

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  • What's the Matter with Kansas? - Trailer

    Based on the Thomas Frank's best-seller, "What's the Matter with Kansas?" shows how Kansas transformed from an outpost of radicalism to a bastion of hard-core conservatism. Unforgettable characters and their stories shed new light on our nation's political divide.

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REVIEWS

Praise for What's the Matter with Kansas?

What op-ed writers across the political spectrum have said about Thomas Frank and
What's the Matter with Kansas?:

"The best political book of the year."
-Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times, November 3, 2004

"Frank is a formidable controversialist-imagine Michael Moore with a trained brain and an intellectual conscience."
-George F. Will, The Washington Post, July 8, 2004

"Brilliant."
-Barbara Ehrenreich, The New York Times, July 1, 2004

"Mr. Frank re-injects economic-class issues into the debate with sardonic vehemence."
-Jerome Weeks, The Dallas Morning News, June 27, 2004

"A searing piece of work . . . one of the most important political writings in years."
-The Boston Globe

"Dazzlingly insightful and wonderfully sardonic . . . Frank has made much sense of the world in this book."
-Chicago Tribune

"Impassioned, compelling . . . Frank's books mark him as one of the most insightful thinkers of the twenty-first century, four years into it."
-Houston Chronicle

"Very funny and very painful . . . Add another literary gold star after Thomas Frank's name."
-San Francisco Chronicle

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Thomas Frank, with a new afterword

  • Thomas Frank is the author of Pity the Billionaire, The Wrecking Crew, What's the Matter with Kansas?, and One Market Under God. A former opinion columnist for The Wall Street Journal, Frank is the founding editor of The Baffler and a monthly columnist for Harper's. He lives outside Washington, D.C.

  • Thomas Frank Jane Magellanic
    Thomas Frank
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Available Formats and Book Details

What's the Matter with Kansas?

How Conservatives Won the Heart of America

Thomas Frank, with a new afterword

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Holt Paperbacks

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