Every book I've read in the past three months has gotten me more charged to do some serious world changing! I want to rant somewhat on my recent reads (What's the Matter with Kansas, Good to Great, Don't Think of an Elephant), but I need to do it over a few days.
Thomas Frank's Kansas is a froth-mouthed, frustrating creature, waiting for its moment to rip out the last of "liberal hold on America". I think his pessimism is misplaced. Let me paint a different picture of Kansas.
The leaders of the conservative backlash live in simple homes, and have hard lives and day jobs, many in factories. Their efforts are hugely grassroots, going from door-to-door, and involving large sectors of their communities. Simultaneously, they're investing in their future, building infrastructure, and financing new ideas. These people are politically sophisticated, and they're working class people.
We're in the middle of the largest working class revolution in American history, and the poor are going about it right!
Sure, they aren't supporting what we were hoping for. But their current view of the world is warped. It's kept stable by their ideology and a lot of effort, but it can't be stabilized with respect to every perturbation, and sooner or later, it will fall apart. I think it's so unstable that when it goes, it will explode, and then there will be hell to pay.
But it won't easily fall apart on its own, but that's where the other two books come in.