“Paul Sabin’s history of America’s 1960s and 70s is directly relevant to the country’s civic, political, and ethical choices in the decades ahead. This is a surprising, insightful, and lastingly useful book.”

James Fallows, author of Our Towns

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

YaleNews Interview about Public Citizens

I spoke with Susan Gonzalez from YaleNews about some of the historical lessons from Public Citizens: “The Rise of Public Interest Advocacy– and the Attack on Big Government.”

 

Spoke about Public Citizens on Politics and Polls

I discussed tensions within liberalism in the 1960s and 70s and their continuing relevance today on Politics and Polls with Princeton profs Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang: “When the Left Attacks Big Government”

Joined The Science of Politics podcast to discuss Public Citizens

Discussed Public Citizens with Matt Grossman for the Niskanen Center’s podcast, The Science of Politics: “How the Left and Right Undermined Trust in Government.”  The book was paired with a discussion of Amy Fried and Douglas Harris’s book, At War with Government.

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