Whether these essays (originally published as syndicated newspaper columns) are individually about financial bailouts, illegal immigrants, gay marriage, national security, or the Duke University rape case, the underlying concern is about what these very different kinds of things say about the general direction of American society.
This larger and longer-lasting question is whether the particular issues discussed reflect a degeneration or dismantling of the America that we once knew and expected to pass on to our children and grandchildren. There are people determined that this country's values, history, laws, traditions and role in the world are fundamentally wrong and must be changed. Such people will not stop dismantling America unless they get stopped—and the next election may be the last time to stop them, before they take the country beyond the point of no return.
Part of the CBC Massey Lectures Series
In 1989, as the Berlin Wall crumbled and the Cold War dissipated, the American political commentator Francis Fukuyama wrote a famous essay, entitled “The End of History.” Fukuyama argued that the demise of confrontation between Communism and capitalism, and the expansion of Western liberal democracy, signalled the endpoint of humanity’s sociocultural and political evolution, the waning of traditional power politics, and the path toward a more peaceful world. At the heart of his thesis was the audaciously optimistic idea of “progress” in history.
But a quarter of a century after Fukuyama’s bold prediction about transcending the struggles of the past, history has returned. The twenty-first century has not seen unfettered progress toward peace and a single form of government, but the reappearance of trends and practices many believed had been erased: arbitrary executions, attempts to annihilate ethnic and religious minorities, the starvation of besieged populations, invasion and annexation of territory, and the mass movement of refugees and displaced persons. It has also witnessed cracks and cleavages within Western liberal democracies, particularly as a result of deepening economic inequality — at levels not seen since the end of the nineteenth century.
The Return of History both illustrates and explains this return of history. But it also demonstrates how the reappearance of acts deemed “barbaric” or “medieval” has a modern twist. Above all, it argues that the return of history should encourage us all to remember that our own liberal democratic society was not inevitable and that we must all, as individual citizens, take a more active role in its preservation and growth.
"Kam and Franzese is a must-have for all empirical social scientists interested in teasing out the complexities of their data."
---Janet M. Box-Steffensmeier, Ohio State University
"Kam and Franzese have written what will become the definitive source on dealing with interaction terms and testing interactive hypotheses. It will serve as the standard reference for political scientists and will be one of those books that everyone will turn to when helping our students or doing our work. But more than that, this book is the best text I have seen for getting students to really think about the importance of careful specification and testing of their hypotheses."
---David A. M. Peterson, Texas A&M University
"Kam and Franzese have given scholars and teachers of regression models something they've needed for years: a clear, concise guide to understanding multiplicative interactions. Motivated by real substantive examples and packed with valuable examples and graphs, their book belongs on the shelf of every working social scientist."
---Christopher Zorn, University of South Carolina
"Kam and Franzese make it easy to model what good researchers have known for a long time: many important and interesting causal effects depend on the presence of other conditions. Their book shows how to explore interactive hypotheses in your own research and how to present your results. The book is straightforward yet technically sophisticated. There are no more excuses for misunderstanding, misrepresenting, or simply missing out on interaction effects!"
---Andrew Gould, University of Notre Dame
Cindy D. Kam is Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of California, Davis.
Robert J. Franzese Jr. is Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Michigan, and Research Associate Professor, Center for Political Studies, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan.
For datasets, syntax, and worksheets to help readers work through the examples covered in the book, visit: www.press.umich.edu/KamFranzese/Interactions.html