Keller, a professor emeritus of history at Brandeis University, has written a masterful and fresh account of U.S. politics, dividing the country's history into three distinct regimes. What he calls the "deferential-republican" system characterized American political life from late colonial times through the 1820s; it was followed by a "party-democratic" system and then a "populist-bureaucratic" system. The names of his systems do not fall trippingly from the tongue, and the revisions he proposes to more conventional views are perhaps a shade less radical than he asserts. Nevertheless, Keller's descriptions of the systems and his integration of a well-constructed and fast-paced historical narrative with a powerful analytic model make for a book that will provoke and engage specialists while providing less seasoned readers in the United States and abroad with a very useful and accessible introduction to the development of U.S. politics.
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