The Tribes of America

The Tribes of America Cover

The Tribes of America

Journalistic Discoveries of Our People and Their Cultures

By Paul Cowan; Rick Perlstein (Introduction by)

New Press, Paperback, 9781595582300, 311pp.

Publication Date: March 30, 2008

First published in 1979 and long out of print, "The Tribes of America" is an overlooked classic--a prescient and deeply empathetic work based on seven years of reporting from the front lines of the culture wars that continue to divide America. Long before Tom Frank asked, "What's the matter with Kansas?" "Village Voice" reporter and civil rights activist Paul Cowan set out to "to cross the sound barrier of dogma and test his] beliefs against the realities of American life" by investigating what he called the "professional, religious, ethnic, and racial tribes--the Tribes of America." From reporting on a vicious battle over school textbooks in West Virginia, the school busing crisis in Boston, and the miners' strike in Harlan County, Kentucky, to the fight over low-income housing in Forest Hills, Queens, and the 1972 conspiracy trial of Eqbal Ahmad, Father Philip Berrigan, and others, Cowan journeyed deep into misunderstood communities across the nation to depict American struggles, prejudices, and hopes.
In his introduction, Rick Perlstein writes that Cowan's "agonized sensitivity to battlefields then barely emergent makes for one of the most remarkable books I have ever read by any journalist." "The Tribes of America" is a powerful model for engaged journalism and an enormously illuminating portrait of a nation at war with itself.

About the Author
Paul Cowan (1940-88) was a longtime reporter for the "Village Voice" and the author of "The Making of an Un-American, Only Yesterday, An Orphan in History", and, with Rachel Cowan, "Mixed Blessings" and "A Torah Is Written". Rick Perlstein is the author of "Nixonland" and "Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus".

Rick Perlstein is the author of the New York Times "bestseller The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan"; "Nixonland: The Rise of a President" "and the Fracturing of America", a "New York Times" bestseller picked as one of the best nonfiction books of 2007 by over a dozen publications; and "Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus", which won the 2001 "Los AngelesTimes" BookAward for history and appeared on the best books of the year lists of "The" "New York Times", "The" "Washington Post", and the "Chicago Tribune".Hisessays and book reviewshave been published in "The New Yorker, The" "New York Times, The" "Washington Post, TheNation", "TheVillage Voice", and "Slate", among others. He hasreceived a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for independent scholars. He lives in Chicago.