Abortion, funding for the arts, women’s rights, gay rights, court-packing–the list of controversies that divide our nation runs long and each one cuts deep. Professor Hunter’s book, Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America, shows that these issues are not isolated from one another but are, in fact, part of a fabric of conflict which constitutes nothing short of a struggle over the meaning of America. Unlike the religious and cultural conflict that historically divided the nation, the contemporary culture war is fought along new and, in many ways, unfamiliar lines. Its foundation is a profound realignment in American culture which cuts across established moral and religious communities.

Culture Wars presents a riveting account of how Christian fundamentalist, Orthodox Jews, and conservative Catholics have joined forces in a fierce battle against their progressive counterparts–secularist, reform Jews, liberal Catholics and Protestants–as each side struggles to gain control over such fields of conflict as the family, art, education, law, and politics. Not since the Civil War has there been such fundamental disagreement over basic assumptions about truth, freedom, and our national identity.

Robert Coles, author of The Spiritual Life of Children, reviewed the book, saying, “An extraordinary intellectual achievement—a careful and immensely constructive analysis of the sources of the moral and cultural conflicts which continue to confront us in late twentieth-century America.” And Christopher Lasch, author of The Culture of Narcissism, saying, “Hunter’s careful study removes any lingering doubt about the depth of the ideological divisions in American society … [A] valuable corrective to the perceived wisdom that America is a classless society united by a broad ‘middle-class’ consensus.” As well as Peter L. Berger, director of the Institute for the Study of Economic Culture at Boston University, saying, “Hunter gives a careful overview of the cultural conflicts in America today and makes some modest proposals on how they might be resolved.”

Reviews

Andrew M. Greeley’s review, “With God on Their Sides,” in the New York Times
Peter Steinfel’s review, “Beliefs,” in the New York Times
Read an archived version of Thomas Brynce Edsall’s review from the Washington Monthly

Awards

1992 Critics-Choice Award (Christianity Today)
Finalist 1992 L.A. Times Book Prize
Selected as an alternate in the Book of the Month Club, the History Book Club,
and the Quality Paperback Book Club
Honorable Mention, Phi Beta Kappa Book Competition

Culture Wars is available at bookstores and online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Basic Books, and others.