“A brilliant exposé of the uglier undercurrents of American political history.”
Kirkus (starred review)

REPUBLIC OF WRATH scans American history to explain what is different about the passionate present—and how the past might guide us toward a better future.

1783 The idea that the American Revolution might have ended in a coup sounds fantastic to us today…more

1800 A slave named Gabriel meticulously plotted a rebellion in Richmond, Virginia…more

1862 Soon everyone could see that its jubilant crew were contraband—fleeing slaves… more

1965 The civil rights marchers began to stumble, fall, and scream…more

1968 Protesters dangled a noose from the balcony, and the intoxicated crowd began to scream “kill ’em, kill ’em, kill ’em.”… more

2004 Somehow, it rang true to people who felt that Barack Hussein Obama—they put a heavy emphasis on his middle name—did not reflect the country they grew up in…more

President Obama Speaking in front of a purple flag backdrop


s you’ll see in the chapters ahead, partisan politics has always—always—been wrapped up in race, in ethnicity, and in questions of national identity. And every change seemed to provoke savagery. Sure, many of the violent spasms are well known: slavery, segregation, Civil War, racial riots erupting across the country for a hundred years after the Civil War. And it goes on: attacks on the Chinese in the west, Mexicans in the southwest, Irish in the northeast, and African Americans everywhere. But the unremitting scale and scope of our own pogroms have, somehow, slipped to the fringes of the national narrative—exceptions, anomalies, occasional troubles. What I learned—some colleagues will cluck at the naiveté—was that the violence was more essential, that raw violence is a basic feature of the partisan story.