“Astute and nuanced, Paul Sabin uses Ralph Nader and the public interest movement he helped spawn to tell a fascinating story of American governance and the limits of markets, regulation, and citizen action.”

Richard White, author of Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America

In the 1960s and 1970s, an insurgent attack on traditional liberalism took shape in America, built on new ideals of citizen advocacy and the public interest.

Public Citizens traces the history of this public interest movement and explores its tangled legacy, showing the ways in which American liberalism has been at war with itself. The book forces us to reckon with the challenges of regaining our faith in government’s ability to advance the common good.

Read More About Public Citizens

U.S. Steel Corporation plant on the Monongahela River in 1973. (EPA)Sunbathers at Huntington Beach, and an oil platform offshore, May 1975 (Environmental Protection Agency)Pumps closed on Interstate 5 in Oregon (Environmental Protection Agency)
U.S. Steel Corporation plant on the Monongahela River in 1973. (EPA)
Sunbathers at Huntington Beach, and an oil platform offshore, May 1975 (Environmental Protection Agency)
Pumps closed on Interstate 5 in Oregon (Environmental Protection Agency)

Latest Updates

“The Liberal Attack on Government” in The Atlantic

My new piece in @TheAtlantic on the liberal attack on big government liberalism in the 1960s and 70s.

Public Citizens included on the New York Times list of “12 New Books We Recommend This Week”

Public Citizens was one of twelve new books recommended by the New York Times Book Review. The editors called it “a thoughtful careful account of how the adversarial liberalism of the late 1960s, as embodied by Ralph Nader, replaced New Deal liberalism and opened the door for Ronald Reagan’s antigovernment conservatism.”

Discussed Public Citizens on Majority Report with Sam Seder

Greatly enjoyed talking with Sam Seder on Majority Report about about changing liberal attitudes towards government since the 1950s and the role that liberal advocates played in challenging the post-war administrative state. Check out the episode and episode summary here.

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