The Conspicuous Case of Donald J. Trump
By (author) Sidney Plotkin
Publication date:28 December 2018
Length of book:344 pages
Donald Trump’s astonishing rise to the US presidency challenges conventional understandings of American politics, yet he is distinctively American. His biography and family lineage reflect American traditions such as real estate hucksterism and buccaneering salesmanship. But Trump’s pugnacity also reflects the shadow of other darker American traditions of misogyny, racism and xenophobia, patterns that formed what Thorstein Veblen called a “sclerosis of the American soul.” Using Veblen’s theory of American development to explore the nation’s curious fusion of barbarism and liberal democracy, Veblen’s America taps the rich vein of the sociologist’s early twentieth-century insights to shed light on the Trump phenomenon that has overwhelmed and threatened early twenty-first-century American democracy.
“One of the world’s leading Veblen scholars has done it again. Sidney Plotkin’s Veblen’s America provides an insightful and brilliant analysis that exposes Trump’s rural ‘country town’ appeal as an expression of the deep red barbaric strand in American political culture, its racism, misogyny and inflamed nationalism. This book is a must-read.”
—Bill Scheuerman, Professor Emeritus, SUNY, USA