Penguin Bookshop Writers Series: Kevin O'Leary

Penguin Bookshop Writers Series:
Kevin O'Leary

Tuesday, September 22, 2020
7:00 PM ET


 Join us for a unique conversation with Kevin O'Leary, author of Madison's Sorrow: Today's War on the Founders and America's Liberal Ideal. Kevin will dive into key points from Madison's Sorrow and provide insight into how we've arrived at such a strange time in our country's political history and identity. Kevin's talk will last approximately 30 minutes, and will conclude with a Q&A from the audience. This event will be held via Zoom and is free to the public. Registration is required. 




Kevin C. O'Leary is a research fellow at the Center for the Study of Democracy at the University of California, Irvine and teaches in the Political Science Department at Chapman University. A contributor to The American Prospect, he was the lead West Coast reporter for TIME, as well as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He earned his PhD at Yale University. His previous book, Saving Democracy: A Plan for Real Representation in America, was a finalist for the American Political Science Association's Michael Harrington Award.


The story of America is the struggle between our liberal ideal and illiberal resistance. Donald Trump catalyzed a reactionary revolution by tapping into the dark, shadowy side of American democracy that embraces exclusion and inequality. Throughout American history these alarming impulses have come to the forefront of our culture—during the Civil War, the era of the Robber Barons, and the Civil Rights Movement—but have now come to fruition in the presidency of Donald Trump. 

Arguing that the contemporary Republican Party is waging a counterrevolution against the core beliefs of the nation, journalist and scholar Kevin C. O’Leary cracks open American history to reveal the essence of America’s liberal heritage by critiquing the reactionary illiberal currents that periodically threaten American democracy. American politics is no longer an ongoing debate between liberals and conservatives because the new Republican Party embraces the feudal values of the Old World. While there are millions of conservatives in the population, the elected leadership of the GOP is deeply reactionary. 

Today’s marriage of white-identity Southerners and their northern allies to moneyed libertarians is no run-of-the-mill political partnership. Instead, it is extraordinarily dangerous. Clearly, conservatives have lost their party. And without conservatives debating liberals in an intellectual, respectful manner to address the nation’s problems, Madisonian democracy breaks down. 

A stimulating reinterpretation of the American experience, Madison’s Sorrowexposes the intellectual and moral deficiencies of the illiberal right while offering a robust defense of the liberal tradition.


“Essential reading” —Booklist (starred)

“Kevin O’Leary tells this complex and alarming story brilliantly.” Robert Kuttner

“O’Leary could not be more timely…” Norman Ornstein

“This beautifully written book is a must-read…” —Erwin Chemerinsky



Madison's Sorrow: Today's War on the Founders and America's Liberal Ideal Cover Image
ISBN: 9781643134345
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pegasus Books - May 5th, 2020

Event address: 
Penguin Bookshop
417 Beaver Street
Sewickley, PA 15143
Event date: 
Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 7:00pm