NEW YORK, NY — June 7, 2021 — In the wake of the siege on the Capitol, bitter political divisiveness continues to provoke anger, accusations, mistrust, paranoia and fear across the United States. Is our democracy doomed? Seth David Radwell, a business leader with a master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, believes, like many citizens, that our democracy is in crisis. Yet, despite the dire pronouncements from pundits on both the left and right, he knows from his research that our political divisions are not “unprecedented.” In his incisive book, American Schism: How the Two Enlightenments Hold the Secret to Healing Our Nation, (June 29, 2021, Greenleaf Book Group; ISBN: 978-1-62634-861-5; $25.95; Hardcover), Seth David Radwell with a Foreword by Jonathan Israel, the leading Enlightenment scholar and Professor Emeritus, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, proposes a new dialogue between thoughtful and concerned Americans from both red and blue states who make up the exhausted majority—a dialogue informed by our country’s history.
Increasingly disturbed by the contentious state of politics, social unrest and the apparent disappearance of “truth,” Radwell set out to examine his own long-held assumptions about American democracy and ideals. Through a deep dive into foundational documents and the influence of the European Enlightenment, he uncovered a startling truth: There really are two Americas. Far from new, today’s raging conflicts have their roots in the fundamentally different visions of America that emerged at our nation’s founding. In American Schism, Radwell looks at our country’s history and ongoing political tensions through the lens of the Radical Enlightenment versus the Moderate Enlightenment, and their dynamic interplay with Counter-Enlightenment movements over the last few centuries. With a firm grasp of historical context and reality, he offers a new vision for America with practical action steps for repairing our rift and healing our wounds.
Readers will learn about the impact of this division on controversial issues in America from the 18th century to today, including:
• How the institution of slavery was the great contradiction at the heart of the founding of the country and how the abolition movement grew in influence as our young nation struggled with expansion—not everyone embraced “manifest destiny,” an aggressive assault on Native Americans—and wavered between strengthening foreign alliances and fearing outsiders, a tension that continues in immigration reform debates today.
• How President Lincoln triumphed and achieved the nation’s rebirth based on a new promise—and how the hopes of Radical Reconstruction were devastated with the brutal reality of Jim Crow.
• How the horror of institutionalized racism eventually led to a Radical renaissance of Civil Rights followed by a backlash: a new conservative coalition partly driven by the Christian right—and how such clashing forces recently gave birth to the Black Lives Matter movement and “law and order” rallying cry.
• How white working-class disillusionment and rage began simmering beneath the surface for decades—and how Trump was able unleash its energy and transform issue- based politics to identity politics.
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SETH DAVID RADWELL is an internationally known business executive with a master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor of Arts degree summa cum laude from Columbia University. He served as President of e-Scholastic, the digital arm of the global children’s publishing and education company, and as President of Bookspan (Bertelsmann), where he oversaw all editorial, marketing, media and digital functions for iconic brands such as Book of the Month Club, and developed book clubs for diverse readership, including Black Expressions. He also served as CEO of The Proactiv Company, the leading skincare brand for acne, and as President & Chief Revenue Officer of Guthy-Renker, the worldwide direct-to-consumer beauty company.