Why We're Polarized

Ezra Klein (Author)


The New York Times Bestseller

The Wall Street Journal Bestseller

"Few books are as well-matched to the moment of their publication as Ezra Klein's Why We're Polarized." --Dan Hopkins, The Washington Post

"It is likely to become the political book of the year....Powerful and] intelligent." --Fareed Zakaria, CNN

"Superbly researched and written... --Francis Fukuyama, The Washington Post

America's political system isn't broken. The truth is scarier: it's working exactly as designed. In this book, journalist Ezra Klein reveals how that system is polarizing us--and how we are polarizing it--with disastrous results.

"The American political system--which includes everyone from voters to journalists to the president--is full of rational actors making rational decisions given the incentives they face," writes political analyst Ezra Klein. "We are a collection of functional parts whose efforts combine into a dysfunctional whole."

In Why We're Polarized, Klein reveals the structural and psychological forces behind America's descent into division and dysfunction. Neither a polemic nor a lament, this book offers a clear framework for understanding everything from Trump's rise to the Democratic Party's leftward shift to the politicization of everyday culture.

America is polarized, first and foremost, by identity. Everyone engaged in American politics is engaged, at some level, in identity politics. Over the past fifty years in America, our partisan identities have merged with our racial, religious, geographic, ideological, and cultural identities. These merged identities have attained a weight that is breaking much in our politics and tearing at the bonds that hold this country together.

Klein shows how and why American politics polarized around identity in the twentieth century, and what that polarization did to the way we see the world and one another. And he traces the feedback loops between polarized political identities and polarized political institutions that are driving our system toward crisis.

This is a revelatory book that will change how you look at politics, and perhaps at yourself.

Product Details

$29.99  $27.59
Simon & Schuster Audio
Publish Date
January 28, 2020
5.1 X 1.1 X 5.9 inches | 0.5 pounds
Compact Disc

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About the Author

Ezra Klein is the editor-at-large and cofounder of Vox, the award-winning explanatory news organization. Launched in 2014, Vox reaches more than 50 million people across its platforms each month. Klein is also the host of the podcast the Ezra Klein Show, cohost of the Weeds podcast, and an executive producer on Vox's Netflix show, Explained. Previously, Klein was a columnist and editor at The Washington Post, a policy analyst at MSNBC, and a contributor to Bloomberg.


"Ezra Klein, a political junkie who cofounded the website Vox, narrates his audiobook precisely, purposefully, and passionately. Often a guest on TV news programs, he has a delivery style that is direct and approachable. He conveys the urgency of his arguments with a kind of polite candor and frequently notes how ironic our politics have become, with many voters choosing partisanship over self-interest. Most telling, he takes on the unfairness built into a system in which his home state of California, with almost 40 million residents, has the same number of senators as Wyoming, with not quite 600,000. Klein is especially good at explaining how we got to our present situation, calling the Trump phenomenon 'predictable.' Listeners who want a nuanced and provocative discussion of our politically divided nation will find fertile turf here."--AudioFile Magazine