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The Radical Middle Class:
Populist Democracy and the Question of Capitalism in Progressive Era Portland, Oregon
Robert D. Johnston

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"A historical tour de force of the Progressive era in a middle class city, Professor Johnston's book will begin to unravel the stultifying stereotyping of the middle classes and remove cobwebs of inaction from the minds of today's civic organizers and thinkers."--Ralph Nader

"This is one of the most original, provocative, and imaginative works about the modern U.S. that I have read in years. Johnston has produced far more than a splendid history about the neglected politics of a neglected city. His book is studded with insights about what it meant and means to be middle class and the fecund nature of populism in industrial and post-industrial America. What is more, he gives us hope for the future."--Michael Kazin, Georgetown University, author of The Populist Persuasion: An American History

"Johnston's daring, meticulous, subtle, and analytically acute study of Portland's lower middle class leaves hundreds of shallow and condescending cliches about the petite bourgeoisie mortally wounded or gasping for breath in its splendid wake. He succeeds in restoring the historical autonomy, particularity, and egalitarian moral economy of America's lower middle classes. As with E.P. Thompson's history of the English working class, subsequent work on the middle class in America must now take this study as its point of departure."--James C. Scott, author of Seeing Like a State

"Johnston seizes the Progressive Era and gives it back to the people. He argues that the roots of reform flourished among average citizens, those who thought that they could change the world by reasoning and voting together. This is a book about democracy at its best. Johnston recalls America's potential and underscores the paramount importance of civic activism on the local level."--Glenda E. Gilmore, editor of Who Were the Progesssives? and author of Gender and Jim Crow

"In this very exciting study, Johnston has truly broken new ground. For all its theoretical sophistication, the book is written with flair and is blessedly free of arcane jargon. The prose is clear, powerful, and even jaunty at times. The Radical Middle Class will become one of those rare and important books that no scholar of U.S. class relations and politics will be able to ignore."--Elaine Tyler May, author of Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era

"Robert Johnston has written a terrific book, engaging one of the most neglected and important topics in U.S. history: the political history of the middle class. More successful than some of his predecessors, he gives middle-class Americans the history they so richly deserve. Powerfully argued, splendidly told, and provocatively fresh, The Radical Middle Class marks a milestone in the historiography of the American middle class. It is really the first book of its kind."--Sven Beckert, Harvard University, author of The Monied Metropolis: New York City and the Consolidation of the American Bourgeoisie

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File created: 4/21/2017

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