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Don't Blame Us:
Suburban Liberals and the Transformation of the Democratic Party
Lily Geismer

Paperback | 2017 | $27.95 | £22.95 | ISBN: 9780691176239
392 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4
Hardcover | 2014 | $37.50 | £31.95 | ISBN: 9780691157238
392 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 6 tables. 10 maps.
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400852420 |
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A Q&A with Lily Geismer

Don't Blame Us traces the reorientation of modern liberalism and the Democratic Party away from their roots in labor union halls of northern cities to white-collar professionals in postindustrial high-tech suburbs, and casts new light on the importance of suburban liberalism in modern American political culture. Focusing on the suburbs along the high-tech corridor of Route 128 around Boston, Lily Geismer challenges conventional scholarly assessments of Massachusetts exceptionalism, the decline of liberalism, and suburban politics in the wake of the rise of the New Right and the Reagan Revolution in the 1970s and 1980s. Although only a small portion of the population, knowledge professionals in Massachusetts and elsewhere have come to wield tremendous political leverage and power. By probing the possibilities and limitations of these suburban liberals, this rich and nuanced account shows that—far from being an exception to national trends—the suburbs of Massachusetts offer a model for understanding national political realignment and suburban politics in the second half of the twentieth century.

Lily Geismer is assistant professor of history at Claremont McKenna College.


"Don't Blame Us is a very readable and informative book."--Choice

"This brilliantly argued and beautifully written book was . . . eye-opening for me both as a scholar and a product of the world Geismer reveals in all of its complexity."--Elise Lemire, New England Quarterly

"[An] exhaustively researched, compelling book. . . . Geismer presents a fresh and much-needed portrait of a middle-class white suburbia n the most Democratic of states--Massachusetts--that forces us to reconsider easy teleological narratives of liberal 'decline' and conservative ascendancy."--Jonathan Bell, American Historical Review

"[A] provocative and well-researched book. . . . Broad scope and impressive relevance. . . . Particularly impressive about Don't Blame Us is the way Geismer so thoroughly considers the many factors that went into the making of what might be termed the American urban crisis."--Kenneth T. Jackson, Journal of American History

"Don't Blame Us illustrates the wider importance of suburban America in postwar politics, and fills a significant gap in the scholarship of modern American political history. . . . A riveting book; Geismer skillfully weaves a historical narrative from the local and compellingly positions this in relation to the national."--Oscar Winberg, American Studies in Scandinavia


"This book is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the reinvention of American liberalism since the 1960s. Don't Blame Us reveals how affluent white suburban professionals moved a new set of material concerns--their own--to the center of public life. Surprising and provocative, this story deserves the widest possible discussion."--Nancy MacLean, author of Freedom Is Not Enough: The Opening of the American Workplace

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Table of Contents:

Illustrations ix
Acknowledgments xi
Abbreviations xv
Introduction 1
Part I Suburban Activism
1 No Ordinary Suburbs 19
2 Good Neighbors 43
3 A Multiracial World 71
4 Grappling with Growth 97
5 Political Action for Peace 123
Part II Massachusetts Liberals
6 A New Center 149
7 Open Suburbs vs. Open Space 173
8 Tightening the Belt 199
9 No One Home to Answer the Phone 227
10 From Taxachusetts to the Massachusetts Miracle 251
Epilogue 281
Notes 289
Index 357


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