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Seth David Radwell

Dec 29, 2021

American Schism

How the Two Enlightenments Hold the Secret to Healing our Nation

Greenleaf Book Group 2021

Why are Americans so angry? American Schism: How the Two Enlightenments Hold the Secret to Healing our Nation (Greenleaf, 2021) explores history to find the answer to a divided America

Two disparate Americas have always coexisted. In this thoroughly researched, engaging and story of our nation’s divergent roots, Seth David Radwell clearly links the fascinating history of the two American Enlightenments to our raging political division. He also demonstrates that reasoned analysis and historical perspective are the only antidote to irrational political discourse.

“Did my vision of America ever exist at all, or was it but a myth?” Searching for a fresh and distinctive perspective on the recent corrosion of our civic life, Radwell’s very personal and yet broadly shared question propelled his search back to the nation’s founding for a fresh and distinctive perspective on the recent corrosion of its civic life - and led to a surprising discovery. Today’s battles reflect the fundamentally divergent visions of our country that emerged at the nation’s founding and have been vying for prominence ever since. The founding principles that shaped the United States may be rooted in the Enlightenment era. But the origin of our dual Americas is a product of two distinct Enlightenments - Radical and Moderate.

Radwell shows the impact of this schism on American history from the early expansion of the U.S. through Jim Crow and The Age of Trumpism.

In an optimistic final section, Radwell lays out an analysis of our current governmental structure and a plan to move forward, arguing that it is only by embracing Enlightenment principles that we can build a civilized, progressive, and tolerant society - where Americans can firmly ground their different views in rationality.

Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a psychologist, writer, Middle East television commentator and host of The New Books Network’s Van Leer Jerusalem Series on Ideas. We invite your comments and suggestions: reneeg@vanleer.org.il.

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Renee Garfinkel

Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a psychologist, writer, Middle East television commentator and host of The New Books Network’s Van Leer Jerusalem Series on Ideas. Write her at reneeg@vanleer.org.il

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