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Hard America Soft America: Competition vs. Coddling and the Battle for the Nations

Wednesday May 2004


Michael Barone Senior Writer, U.S. News & World Report

Last year, Michael Barone wrote an article in U.S. News & World Report, “A Tale of Two Nations,” providing a new framework for understanding a range of issues in American society. Now, in his new book, Hard America, Soft America, Barone expands on this article—which drew an overwhelming reader response—to reveal just how deeply America is divided into two nations: one, ruled by competition and accountability, and the other determined to protect people from such realities.

Barone explores how we came to this divide, and where America is—or should be—headed. Along the way, he shows how the ongoing struggle between Hard America and Soft America influences virtually every aspect of our lives—from jobs to schooling, from what we pay in taxes to what we get in benefits, from the strength of the U.S. economy to the effectiveness of the U.S. military.