The Populist Explosion

How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics

by John B. Judis

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  • 9780997126457
"Far and away the most incisive examination of the central development in contemporary politics: the rise of populism on both the right and the left. Superb." -- Thomas Edsall, New York Times columnist

What's happening in global politics? As if overnight, many Democrats revolted and passionately backed a socialist named Bernie Sanders; the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union ; the vituperative billionaire Donald Trump became the presidential nominee of the Republican party; and a slew of rebellious parties continued to win elections in Switzerland, Norway, Italy, Austria, and Greece.

John B. Judis, one of America's most respected political analysts, tells us why we need to learn about the populist movement that began in the United States in the 1890s, the politics of which have recurred on both sides of the Atlantic ever since. Populism, on both the right and the left, champions the people against an establishment, based on issues--globalization, free trade, immigration--on which there has been a strong elite consensus, but also a strong mass discontent that is now breaking out into the open.

The Populist Explosion is essential reading for our times as we grapple to understand the political forces at work here and in Europe.

  • Columbia Global Reports; September 2016
  • ISBN: 9780997126457
  • Read online, or download in secure ePub format
  • Title: The Populist Explosion
  • Author: John B. Judis
  • Imprint: Columbia Global Reports
Subject categories
  • 9780997126440
  • 9780997126457

In The Press

"A cogent and exceptionally clarifying guide to a political phenomenon that is at once elusive and, yes, explosive."
-- Jonathan Alter, The New York Times Book Review

"If you read no other political book this year, read The Populist Explosionby John B. Judis, which brilliantly sets out the connection to present circumstances." - Mark Mardell, BBC

"John B. Judis's The Populist Explosion was published just before Mr. Trump's election, but that improbable victory only confirms the book's thesis that Western democracies are in some ways failing to represent their citizens. Mr. Judis's analysis is sharp and engaging." -- Barton Swaim, The Wall Street Journal
"Writing from the left, with a qualified admiration for the populist impulse, Judis contends that populist insurgencies historically have served as warning signs of larger brewing political crises." -- Tory Newmyer, Fortune

"Shows why journalists who have a sense of history, and its irony, need not be bewildered by the astonishing revolt against globalized elites in our time." -- Pankaj Mishra, Bloomberg

"The Populist Explosion is far and away the most incisive examination of the central development in contemporary politics: the rise of populism on both the right and the left. John Judis, whose track record is unrivaled, is the ideal author to tackle the subject, and he has done a superb job, placing contemporary trends, including the rise of Donald Trump, in historical perspective. Judis demonstrates the crucial role of the 2008 recession both here and in Europe in discrediting the neoliberal agenda. This is must reading."
--Thomas Edsall, New York Times columnist

"A sweeping narrative -- rich in historical and political argument -- that ably ties together the insurgencies on both sides of the Atlantic."
-- The Nation

"John Judis, in The Populist Explosion, has written a terrific short book that is a brisk tour of the horizon, of the right and left versions of populism, their history and current state, with a useful comparison of the populist upsurge in the United States and Europe."
--The American Prospect

"The Populist Explosion blends groundbreaking reporting with insightful scholarship in the best guide yet to the most important political phenomenon of our time."
--Michael Lind, author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States

"John Judis demonstrates again why he is one of America's best political journalists. There is no wiser of better informed analysis of contemporary voter discontent on both sides of the Atlantic than The Populist Explosion."
--Michael Kazin, editor of Dissent, author of The Populist Persuasion: An American History and War Against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918

About The Author

John B. Judis is Editor at Large, Talking Points Memo. Previously, he was a senior editor of The New Republic and a senior writer for The National Journal. He is the author of six books, including Genesis: Truman, American Jews, and the Origin of the Arab-Israeli Conflict (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2014), The Folly of Empire: What George W. Bush Could Learn from Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson (Scribner, 2004), The Emerging Democratic Majority with Ruy Teixeira (Scribner, 2002), and The Paradox of American Democracy: Elites, Special Interests, and Betrayal of Public Trust (Pantheon, 2000). He has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Mother Jones, and The Washington Post. Born in Chicago, he received his B.A. and M.A. degrees in Philosophy from the University of California Berkeley. He lives in Silver Spring, MD.

Subject categories
  • 9780997126440
  • 9780997126457