... sweeping but insightful ... Caldwell’s analysis of our Vietnam legacy is particularly masterful but the book brims with brisk evaluations of how a confident nation became an argumentative, fragmented one ... Perhaps because he was writing as his book’s natural finale crashed into the arena – Donald Trump’s election – Caldwell is less sure-footed in a grand conclusion. What does all this mean? Where are we? Where do we go to reconnect with our better angels? ... Caldwell offers the best analysis and theory yet as to how we perhaps unwittingly arrived at a place where we would elect a president bent on unraveling our institutions, assumptions and beliefs about ourselves and where we no longer even start with a set of accepted facts about anything.
... provocative and well-argued ... Christopher Caldwell may be on the receiving end of the slings and arrows of the liberal governmental and cultural elite he scorns in this book. He may be called a 'bigot' or a 'white nationalist' or worse. Or, hopefully, his erudite arguments will be debated, analyzed and discussed on their merits without rancor or venom.
Caldwell warrants attention. He is one of the right’s most gifted and astute journalists, noted especially for his thoughtful writings on Europe ... provocative and pessimistic ... If you think Caldwell sounds like Bannon, the self-appointed tribune of Trumpian working-class populism, you’re right. But the conservative critique of Davos Man has a lot to say that deserves a hearing ... Perhaps the author should have come up for oxygen when he found himself suggesting that the Southern segregationists were right all along. Reading this overwrought and strangely airless book, one would never imagine a different way of viewing things ... Perhaps most depressingly, Caldwell’s account, even if one accepts its cramped view of the Constitution and its one-eyed moral bookkeeping, leads nowhere. It proffers no constructive alternative, no plausible policy or path. The author knows perfectly well that there will be no 'repeal of the civil rights laws.' He foresees only endless, grinding, negative-sum cultural and political warfare between two intractably opposed 'constitutions.' His vision is a dead end. Unfortunately, it also seems to be where American conservatism is going.