A Story of Ideas and Power in Our Time
A powerful, timely book, seeking to understand the origins and impact of the ideas that rightly or wrongly constitute "identity politics" - where they come from, what effect they have, where they could lead. His book is both an excellent analysis and an eloquent plea for the recovery of shared values, the ideas that link us instead of dividing us -- Anne Applebaum In The Identity Trap, Yascha Mounk explains how a few powerfully bad ideas, propelled through institutions by people with good intentions, are causing systemic dysfunction and dangerous polarization. This is among the most insightful and important books written in the last decade on American democracy and its current torments, because it also shows us a way out of the trap -- Jonathan Haidt In his indispensable book, Yascha Mounk proposes an alternative to the ceaseless combat between "woke" and "anti-woke" extremes -- one that takes seriously the enduring malignant legacy of systemic discrimination, yet correctly identifies that universal values, not group solidarity, offer the surest path to justice, fairness, and enduring social peace. The Identity Trap is necessary reading -- David French Yascha Mounk is our most active contemporary defender of liberal democracy (a) brave and important book -- Martin Wolf Yascha Mounk explains the intellectual roots of our current focus on identity, what's wrong with it, and how we can get back to belief in a shared humanity in an erudite yet easy-to-read account -- Francis Fukuyama The Identity Trap brings vital context to some of the most fraught and divisive debates of our time -- Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Mounks painstaking and thoroughly researched account is a revelation * The Telegraph * Barack Obamas favourite political thinker... Having thoroughly skewered right-wing populism and its brash demagogues in popular books, Mounks next target may surprise his considerable fanbase. The Identity Trap: A Story of Ideas and Power in Our Time explains how dangerous styles of thinking developed in and once largely conned to the academy have now gone mainstream and why we should all be worried ... As a darling of the political left, Mounks criticisms of Americas elite universities will probably hit harder than the anti-woke rants to which institutions have become accustomed. His constructive tone, however, may help higher education institutions to play their part more effectively in a defence of democracy to which he has dedicated himself. -- Matthew Reisz * Times Higher Education * Among the many achievements of Yascha Mounks The Identity Trap is that he unearths the roots of todays ideology with the patience of an archaeologist. Mounk calls it the identity synthesis he avoids the word woke, perhaps wisely and does a superb job of showing how unstable and authoritarian the woke worldview was always going to be. -- Nick Cohen * The Spectator * Mounks analysis is nuanced and balanced. His goal is not merely to critique the identity synthesis, but to explain how leftists came to embrace its dead-end fixation on identity; and to offer ideas about how they can be returned to the path of liberalism. * Quillette * Yascha Mounk tackles one of the most consequential, controversial and as he puts it counterproductive contemporary debates with great seriousness as well as sensitivity. This book is brave, bold, erudite, and rich in detail. Monk is impressively thorough in his analysis of the theories and personalities, social developments, and demographic and technological changes that have brought us to an impasse in identity politics. This is a must read for anyone who wants to explore an alternative approach to framing public life and building coalitions to create a fair and equal society -- Fiona Hill, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution The most comprehensive and reasonable story of this shift that has yet been attempted. . . Mounk has told
Yascha Mounk is a writer and academic known for his work on the rise of populism and the crisis of liberal democracy. Born in Germany to Polish parents, Mounk received his BA in history from Trinity College, University of Cambridge, and his PhD in government from Harvard University. He is now a professor of the Practice of International Affairs at Johns Hopkins University. Mounk is also a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, a contributing editor at The Atlantic, the founder of the online magazine Persuasion and a publisher of Die Zeit. He is the author of The People vs Democracy: Why Our Freedom is in Danger and How to Save It and The Great Experiment: Why Diverse Democracies Fall Apart and How They Can Endure.