Madison's Sorrow: Today's War on the Founders and America's Liberal Ideal (With Author Kevin O'Leary)

Veteran bookseller Jon Grand joins author Kevin C. O'Leary, a research fellow at the Center for the Study of Democracy at the University of California, for a conversation about Mr. O'Leary's new nonfiction book, Madison's Sorrow: Today's War on the Founders and America's Liberal Ideal. This online Crowdcast event is free. We ask that you buy your copy of Madison's Sorrow from The Book Stall (or from your local indie bookstore if you are not in the Chicago area.) Email to reserve your place.

About the Book: author Kevin O'Leary posits that the story of America is a struggle between our liberal ideal and illiberal resistance. The last presidential election catalyzed a reactionary revolution by tapping into the dark, shadowy side of American democracy that embraces exclusion and inequality. Throughout American history these alarming impulses have come to the forefront of our culture--during the Civil War, the era of the Robber Barons, and the Civil Rights Movement--but have now come to fruition under the current administration.

Arguing that the contemporary Republican Party is waging a counterrevolution against the core beliefs of the nation, journalist and scholar Kevin C. O'Leary cracks open American history to reveal the essence of America's heritage by critiquing the reactionary currents that periodically threaten American democracy. American politics is no longer an ongoing debate between liberals and conservatives, because the new Republican Party embraces the feudal values of the Old World. While there are millions of conservatives in the population, the elected leadership of the GOP is deeply reactionary.

Without conservatives debating liberals in an intellectual, respectful manner to address the nation's problems, Madisonian democracy breaks down.

A stimulating reinterpretation of the American experience, Madison's Sorrow seeks to expose the intellectual and moral deficiencies of the illiberal right while offering a robust defense of the liberal tradition.

"O'Leary illustrates with dismaying accuracy and compelling intelligence how illiberalism's co-opting of the modern Republican Party has unbalanced the American system, allowing nationalists, white supremacists, and economic oligarchs to subvert the Founders' aspirational ideals of democratic enfranchisement and equality. Essential reading."-- Booklist (starred review)

About the Author: Kevin C. O'Leary is a research fellow at the Center for the Study of Democracy at the University of California, Irvine and teaches in the Political Science Department at Chapman University. A contributor to The American Prospect, he was the lead West Coast reporter for TIME, as well as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He earned his PhD at Yale University. His previous book, Saving Democracy: A Plan for Real Representation in America, was a finalist for the American Political Science Association's Michael Harrington Award.


Event date: 

Wednesday, August 12, 2020 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm

Event address: 

Online Crowdcast event!
Madison's Sorrow: Today's War on the Founders and America's Liberal Ideal Cover Image
ISBN: 9781643134345
Availability: On Our Shelves Now--Subject to Availability
Published: Pegasus Books - May 5th, 2020

“Essential reading” Booklist (starred)

“Kevin O’Leary tells this complex and alarming story brilliantly.” Robert Kuttner

“O’Leary could not be more timely…” —Norman Ornstein

“This beautifully written book is a must-read&