The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics by John B. Judis

I chose to read The Populist Explosion for a course-required book review. That being said, I may have chosen to read it on my own at some point. Since politics and, specifically, international affairs are my fields of study, I genuinely enjoy deepening my knowledge through books that pertain to them.

The Populist Explosion is one of the rare books in politics that blends recent history and the modern political situation together really well. It details the evolution of various parties in both the United States and Western Europe over the past century (with a certain focus on populism, of course). Beyond that, Judis presents a decent argument for why these populist parties seem to be faring better today than they have in the past. His reasoning is that economic tension, like that of the Great Depression or 2008 Recession, creates the kind of social concerns that encourage certain demographics to shift their political support to populist-style leaders.

It’s not overly complex to read and the author’s voice carries you to the end of the book quickly. The only negatives I found were that some points were repeated throughout the book and, being as it was published a few years ago, some parts could use updating. Despite these issues, I still found the book to be thought-provoking and relevant to the political climate we’re living in today.

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