The Big Sort is not just about politics, but about the way we live and how that affects politics. "Ways of life now have a distinct politics and a distinct geography," Bishop writes.
Bishop traces The Big Sort to 1965, when the country began to divide over Vietnam and race riots slowed or stopped the growing consensus for civil rights. He says less about other social issues -- school prayer, gun control, abortion and gay rights -- that have surely played major roles. For many Americans, the liberal push on these issues invaded space they considered personal. Once personal issues become political, no wonder politics influences personal choices, and not just residence.
But this book traces the causes through geography, psychology, sociology and economics in ways that inform and entertain. It's a bit repetitive, but the anecdotes keep the narrative lively, and Bishop's evenhanded treatment makes this a good read no matter where you are on the political spectrum.