Renowned sociologist Arlie Hochschild embarks on a thought-provoking journey from her liberal hometown of Berkeley, California, deep into Louisiana bayou country—a stronghold of the conservative right.
...an energetic, open-minded quest to understand ... Hochschild is a woman of the left, but her mission is empathy, not polemics. She takes seriously the Tea Partiers’ complaints that they have become the 'strangers' of the title ... While her hopes of finding common political ground seem overly optimistic, this is a smart, respectful and compelling book.
Hochschild is a brilliant sociologist and a great teacher, able to explain complex ideas in lucid, logical prose. But to get alienated parties over this very high empathy wall, she has to be a great human being, too. Her connection and kindness to the people she meets is what makes this book so powerful.
In this case Hochschild arrives with so many preconceived ideas that they undercut the insight she claims to desire ... Hochschild interrupts their stories to place everything in a formulaic big-picture context, a capitalized and italicized theory of the right. The author, we learn, hopes to scale the Empathy Wall and learn the Deep Story that can resolve the Great Paradox through a Keyhole Issue. These contrivances guide, and ruin, this book.