Chasing the Red, White, and Blue by David Cohen
A Journey in Tocqueville's Footsteps Through Contemporary America

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Synopsis

In 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville his journey to America, traveling from New York to the frontier city of Flint, Michigan, down the Ohio River Valley and into Mississippi, then turning east through the Old South and concluding in Washington, D.C. His journey spawned the classic Democracy in America, the book that defined "equality of opportunity" as the wellspring national character.

At the end of the twentieth century, journalist David Cohen made that same journey, with one new destination—the frontier of Silicon Valley in California. Chasing the Red, White, and Blue is his account: a thought-provoking inquiry into the lives of Americans today. Talking with people at every level of society—from Manhattan real estate brokers and Washington lobbyists to supermarket clerks and illegal aliens—Cohen finds equality elusive and the poor increasingly adrift from American society. But he also finds hope alive in the most unexpected of places.

Just as Democracy in America took the measure of our young republic, Chasing the Red, White, and Blue portrays a much-changed America on the cusp of a new millennium: still united by our passion for democracy, yet divided by our prejudices.
 

About David Cohen

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David Cohen is an award-winning British and South African journalist who has written for The Independent, The Guardian, The Financial Times, and British GQ, as well as for The New York Times. He was born in Birmingham, England, grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, and returned to England in the late eighties to attend Oxford University where he studied politics, philosophy and economics. He came to the United States in 1997 on a Harkness Fellowship and was hosted by Columbia University for three years. He lives in London with his wife and two daughters. This is his first book.
 
Published November 3, 2001 by Picador. 272 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Travel, Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Rich get richer, poor get poorer, and the ethical brakes to accumulation and the floodgates to generosity are all gummed up: Tocqueville wore blinders, Cohen suggests, and the aspirants to the American Dream are fewer with each passing day.

Nov 01 2001 | Read Full Review of Chasing the Red, White, and B...

Kirkus Reviews

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the conscience of America was awake.” The author, on the other hand, discovers a nasty tear in the social fabric, a seismic shift in wealth that has undercut any empathy evidenced when there is a relative equality of material conditions, resulting in a jaundiced eye toward need, a widening income...

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Publishers Weekly

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French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville's famed 1831 trek and resulting book, Democracy in America, is closely shadowed by South African journalist Cohen's own journey.

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Book Reporter

It is a tip to Cohen's training as a journalist that he allows interview subjects to make thematic points on their own without Cohen having to put it in prose.

Jan 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Chasing the Red, White, and B...

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