How Antiliberalism Is Tearing America Apart Again


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A chilling and clear-eyed warning about the threats to our democracy posed by the increasing radicalization of the Republican Party, from a leading historian and intellectual

The 2024 election could be the last free election held in a unified America. So warns Robert Kagan in this brilliant and terrifying analysis of the perilous state of democracy in the United States today. If Donald Trump loses the upcoming election, as he did in 2020, but refuses to accept the result, as he also did in the last election, he is likely to call on his millions of followers to repudiate the election results. It will be a short step from there to Republican-dominated states rejecting the legitimacy of the federal government and effectively seceding. The United States at that point will cease to be united, with grave consequences for both Americans and the world.

In Rebellion, Kagan dives deeper than the op-eds and think pieces to explore the historical forces that have brought us to this moment—in particular the long history of opposition to liberalism, and to government, that has shaped America’s character from the time of the Revolution to today. Trump’s unique capacity to tap into that tradition of dissent and circumvent the American system has brought us to the edge of dissolution—not for the first time in our history but possibly the last. This is an elegant and deeply informed synthesis of history, contemporary politics, and ideas that sheds light on this crucial moment.

'The transformation of the US into an autocracy has advanced. By 2024, it might be irreversible [and] will change almost everything in the world. Nobody has outlined this danger more compellingly than Robert Kagan.' - Martin Wolf, Financial Times

©2024 Robert Kagan (P) 2024 Penguin Audio


  • A powerful, much-needed political and social analysis that all lovers of democracy should read.
    Kirkus (starred review)

About the author

Robert Kagan

Robert Kagan is the Senior Fellow at Washington think tank Brookings; a contributing columnist at The Washington Post; and the author of several NYT bestsellers including The World America Made (Knopf, 2012), Return of History and the End of Dreams (Knopf, 2008), Dangerous Nation (Knopf 2006). Politico Magazine named Kagan one of the 'Politico 50' in 2016. He served in the State Department from 1984 to 1988. He is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and holds a doctorate in American history from American University.
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