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The Cousins’ Wars: Religion, Politics, & The Triumph of Anglo-America

The Cousins’ Wars: Religion, Politics, & The Triumph of Anglo-America by Kevin Phillips
28 reviews (1999) (463p)
Pulitzer Prize for History Finalist

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Book Description
At the start of the new millennium, Americans look out on the world triumphant in our political and religious freedom, the power of our armed services, the wealth of our businesses, and the dominance of our language and ideals. It is no exaggeration to say that for the past two centuries Anglo- America has dominated world politics and transformed global culture.

In his revealing new book, THE COUSINS' WARS: Religion, Politics, and the Triumph of Anglo- America, author Kevin Phillips explores and identifies the powerful relationship between religion, politics, and warfare that turned a small Tudor kingdom into a hegemonic global community. Sure to spark a widespread debate on our nation's place in world history, Phillips asserts that the English Civil War, the American Revolution, and the American Civil War forged religious, political, and cultural alignments critical to the emergence of imperial Britain and the "American Century."

THE COUSINS' WARS describes the struggle, over three centuries, between two competing religious, political, and commercial ideologies. The winning side, in the broader sweep of all three conflicts, had its roots in the Puritan and dissenting Protestant southeast of seventeenth-century England and then, across the Atlantic, in the Yankee offspring of that Englandthe New England of the 1770s and the Greater New England that stretched from Boston west through New York and the Great Lakes states in the 1860s.

Phillips marshals overwhelming evidence that in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries religious differences determined political alignment, and religious revivals and divisions were central to the loyalties and causes of each civil war. War shaped U.S. politics from the beginning. Other new presentations, conclusions and examinations include:

Religions central role in U.S. politics from the seventeenth century onwards;

War by war: the strong imprint on U.S politics and culture through the mid-twentieth centurywhich is now fading;

Details on the particular crippling impact of the eighteen and nineteenth century internal wars and subsequent North-South agreements on black culture in the United States;

The whys of calling the three combats "cousins wars," given the family resemblance of their internal divisions within the English-speaking community and their inevitable effects on both sides of the Atlantic;

The decisive importance of the English-speaking communitys split in 1776into aristocratic Britain which would dominate the imperial nineteenth century and the egalitarian U.S. which would shape the twentieth century;

An unprecedented analysis of Anglo-Americas first three emerging republican majorities: the brief English Puritan one of the mid-seventeenth century, the first lasting republican majority of the Revolution, and the first Republican (party) majority of the 1860s;

How Anglo-America reached the Millenium as the strongest politico-linguistic culture since Rome; and its uncertain prospects from here.

As part of his exciting new explanation for the two hundred-year dominance of Anglo-America, Phillips also explores the cultural changes that profoundly affected the English and American wars. Phillips is meticulous as he assesses the impact of Irish and German immigration, Protestant-Catholic rivalry, the rapid rise of Lincoln and the Republican party, and the all-important growth of tolerance and ecumenicalism. THE COUSINS' WARS gives the broad outline of English and American wartime strategies, as well as tantalizing "what if?" moments. Phillips makes it clear that our history has often hung in the balance, and it was often the new nation's religious dynamism that catalyzed the victorious forces.

THE COUSINS' WARS also includes two dozen detailed maps, some showing patterns and phenomena never before mapped, and thanks to Phillips' attention to detail, readers can easily trace the geography of nearly four hundred years of ethnic, cultural, political, and wartime upheaval.

Kevin Phillips is widely regarded as one of America's foremost political historians. As he recounts the dramatic religious and political conflicts that brought us together as a nation, it becomes apparent that many of the forces that rip and tear at today's social fabric have roots stretching back over four hundred years. Whether Anglo-America continues as the world's most powerful political and cultural force may depend upon how well we learn the lessons of the "Cousins' Wars." Review
Political commentator Kevin Phillips (author of the 1991 bestseller The Politics of Rich and Poor) takes a break from analyzing the latest election returns with this sweeping history of Anglo-American exceptionalism. How did the political culture of Anglo-America rise "from a small Tudor kingdom to a global community and world hegemony"? asks Phillips. His answer comes in the course of studying three wars--the English Civil War, the American Revolution, and the U.S. Civil War. Phillips does not examine the military history of these conflicts, looking instead at the political, religious, economic, and sectional interests that shaped them. He makes several eye-opening observations, comparing, for instance, a "state-by-state portrait of which counties, towns, districts, or regions were loyal" during the American Revolution to "ethnoreligious maps of the modern-day Balkans." This is a hefty book (over 600 pages, not including appendices and footnotes), and while Phillips's preface is a bit self-absorbed, admirers of David Landes's The Wealth and Poverty of Nations and Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel will find much to like between its covers. --John J. Miller

Kevin Phillips Award Stats
Major Prize* Nominations 1  
Unique Books Nominated for a Major Prize* 1  
Pulitzer Prize Wins 0  
Pulitzer Prize Nominations 1 The Cousins’ Wars: Religion, Politics, & The Triumph of Anglo-America ·  
National Book Critics Circle Award Wins 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Nominations 0  
National Book Award Wins 0  
National Book Award Nominations 0  
Man Booker Prize Wins 0  
Man Booker Prize Nominations 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Wins 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Nominations 0  

*Major Prize = Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, and PEN/Faulkner Award


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