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The Big Sort

Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart
Narrated by: Paul Brion
Length: 12 hrs and 20 mins
Categories: Nonfiction, Politics
4 out of 5 stars (60 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In 2004, journalist Bill Bishop coined the term "the big sort". Armed with startling new demographic data, he made national news in a series of articles showing how Americans have been sorting themselves into alarmingly homogeneous communities - not by region or by state but by city and even neighborhood. Over the past three decades, we have been choosing the neighborhoods (and churches and news shows) compatible with our lifestyles and beliefs. The result is a country that has become so polarized, so ideologically inbred, that people don't know and can't understand those who live a few miles away. How this came to be, and its dire implications for our country, is the subject of this groundbreaking work. In The Big Sort, Bishop has taken his analysis to a new level. He begins with stories about how we live today and then draws on history, economics, and our changing political landscape to create one of the most compelling big-picture accounts of America in recent memory.

©2008 Bill Bishop (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Complex and surprising.... A book posing hard questions for readers across the political spectrum." ( Booklist)

What members say

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essential reading for any political analyst

this book is very important for anybody that analyzes political trends in the United States. a lot of what we're dealing with today has its roots in what this book talks about.

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For data/history geeks

Data driven explanation of why people vote the way they do or are sorting themselves into insular groups. Too much data and facts for me to process. I gleaned interesting tidbits, but it took me forever to finish this book.

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Build the Wall?

In the backdrop of highly vitriolic debate about the effectiveness and morality of walls that is dividing our nation , I read this sad but fascinating book about just that: the effectiveness and detriment of walls. This book about walls does not discuss metal or concrete, height or length, but discusses the walls being built ideologically around geographic locations, as well as social institutions. These walls hide the view of the humanity that we all share, from the viewer on the other side. Please read if you want to feel challenged an “unsafe” about your own political isolation. That’s what this book did for me. Fantastic and very needed book for these times. #hugapoliticalfoe

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Outdated in 2018

Outdated in 2018, did not find it particularly insightful or compelling. Was probably a better read 10 years ago when written

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A little dated but still relevant

The best explanation I have yet read concerning how our nation evolved into what it is today.

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Excellent book, but repetitive at times

interesting and informative. However, the author seems oddly hung up on religion - he seems desperate to categorize religion as a good, and to deny that the left is becoming less religious. He also seems to have a bias in favor of a strong central government, and laments that the tides seem to be going the other way. Finally, the narrator is very slow. Would play at ~1.2x.

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Everyone has something to learn from this book

I think everyone could learn something from this book. It is full of information on how we’ve sorted ourselves, and how that effects our daily lives. Highly recommend it.

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Wandering biopic of Boomer politics

I liked the historic, religious, demographic and political sorting anecdotes. I didn't like the use of percentages of change without scope. For example, if votes for LGBT rights doubled then what percentage of all voters did that result in? The book is very long to make a point that could've been made more efficiently with graphics using census and voting data. Every generation may think they have invented sex because they don't discuss it with parents. Sorting isn't new, might be more pronounced thanks to a shrinking world.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful