This book was written in the late 1990s based on Richard Rorty’s William E Massey Snr lectures in the history of American civilisation from 1997.
Some interesting talking points:
This conception of the purpose of social organisation is a specifically leftist one. The Left , the party of hope, sees our country’s moral identity as still to be achieved, rather tan as needing to be preserved. The Right thinks that our country already has a moral identity, and hopes to keep that identity intact.
..the New Left accomplished something enormously important, something of which the reformist Left would probably have been incapable. It ended the Vietnam War. It may have saved our country from becoming a garrison state. Without the widespread and continued civil disobedience conducted by the New Left, we might still be sending our young people off to kill Vietnamese.
Ricahrd Rorty also mentions a book called The Endangered American Dream by Edward Luttwak, which correctly predicted the rise of a strongman leader of the USA who had the support of suburban white-collar workers who don’t want to be taxed to provide social benefits for other people. There were many other reasons too, so read the book (P90) to find out what.