When reading Amazon customer reviews I sometimes find the one-star reviews to be as helpful as the four or five-star reviews. This is especially true of books on history or politics. Doubly true if the book is written either from a conservative viewpoint, or just not from a liberal point of view. The one-star reviews will then be submitted by liberals and I can tell how good the book is by how much the liberals hate it.
Pestritto and Atto’s American Progressivism: A Reader is an edited collection of original documents, all written by the movers and shakers of the Progressive Era of American History (1900-1917). It is common knowledge, to me at least, that one must have an understanding of the Progressive Era of American History to have an adequate understanding of modern political liberalism [not to be confused with classical liberalism which is now a nameless philosophy that blends parts of libertarianism and conservatism].
A collection of original documents is an invaluable source for gaining that understanding which I believe to be essential. I’ve concluded that Pestritto and Atto have edited this collection extremely well by the several excellent four and five-star customer reviews. Two of the three one-star reviews were the clincher for me to conclude that I must buy this book. [the third one-star is a tongue-in-cheek attempt by a conservative]. Those two hate the book but do not make a convincing argument against the editors. They might try to fool us but we can see that it’s the substance of the original documents themselves that they don’t like. At this time in history these original documents will not arouse emotion in a contemporary thinker if the goal is simply to understand what actually happened in The Progressive Era, what the makers of that history thought and said, and how it has affected the politics of today. The writers of these one-star reviews seem to be embarrassed by these writings. That is, in my view, because reading them today exposes the truth about modern political liberalism. Nothing offends a liberal like the truth.