An acclaimed journalist and novelist explores the legacy and future of American liberalism through the history of his family's politically active history
George Packer's maternal grandfather, George Huddleston, was a populist congressman from Alabama in the early part of the century—an agrarian liberal in the Jacksonian mold who opposed the New Deal. Packer's father was a Kennedy-era liberal, a law professor and dean at Stanford whose convictions were sorely—and ultimately fatally—tested in the campus upheavals of the 1960s. The inheritor of two sometimes conflicting strains of the great American liberal tradition, Packer discusses the testing of ideals in the lives of his father and grandfather and his own struggle to understand the place of the progressive tradition in our currently polarized political climate. Searching, engrossing, and persuasive, Blood of the Liberals is an original, intimate examination of the meaning of politics in American lives.
Robert F. Kennedy Book Award - Winner
Praise for Blood of the Liberals
“Splendid...[Packer] skillfully weaves the travails of the reformist left through the equally tempetuous story of his own activist family. The result is a politically engaged memoir that sheds more understanding on the problems and promise of liberalism than a shelf full of hand-wringing or wistful post-mortems.”—Michael Kazin, Chicago Tribune
“Remarkable...Belongs on the shelf next to Angela's Ashes, The Liars' Club, and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.”—Jack Hitt, The New York Times Book Review
“Blood of The Liberals is coherent, compelling and desperately urgent.”—Wilson Carey McWilliams, San Francisco Chronicle
“I've never read a book quite like George Packer's Blood of the Liberals. More than a learned history and revealing memoir, it's also an unsentimental but deeply felt love letter to the father he barely knew and the grandfather he never met. Packer shows American liberals where we've been and where we must go by sharing his story—a story that is heartbreaking, hopeful, and beautifully drawn.”—George Stephanopoulos