Author(s): Thomas Frank
An eye-opening account of populism, the most important -- and misunderstood -- movement of our time.
Everything we think we know about populism is wrong.
Today, populism is seen as a frightening thing, a term pundits use to describe the racist philosophy of Donald Trump and European extremists. But this is a mistake.
The real story of populism is an account of enlightenment and liberation; it is the story of democracy itself, of its ever-widening promise of a decent life for all. Taking us from the tumultuous 1890s, when the radical left-wing US Populist Party fought plutocrats, to the triumphs of reformers under Roosevelt and Truman, Frank reminds us how much we owe to the populist ethos.
Frank also shows that elitist groups have reliably detested populism, lashing out at working-class concerns; today's moral panic in liberal circles is only the latest expression. Frank pummels the elites, revisits the movement's provocative politics, and declares true populism to be the language of promise and optimism. People Without Poweris a ringing affirmation of a movement that, Frank shows us, is not the problem of our times, but the solution.