"Perhaps the best book ever on how Democrats lost the white working class. The Hardhat Riot is a great read, but also a must-read to understand the voters that Democrats neglected at their own peril."

former Chief Strategist for
President Bill Clinton

"David Paul Kuhn's Hardhat Riot captures a seminal but long-neglected turning point in the steady erosion of Democratic support among the core of the New Deal Coalition. The May 8, 1970, confrontation-AKA, 'Bloody Friday'-between anti-war protestors, mostly students, and tough, unionized construction workers determined to demonstrate their support of American troops in Vietnam, marked the start of the split between a well-educated elite and an increasingly discontented working class, a split that overtime produced the election of Donald Trump. This book is crucial for anyone seeking to understand the politics of 2020 and beyond."

The New York Times

"I picked up David Paul Kuhn's The Hardhat Riot with the intention of skimming and found myself engrossed, reading every page. Well-written, painstakingly researched, this is an important book that gives life to history and explains the divorce between working-class whites and the Democratic Party, and yet rarer still, is also a real pleasure to read."

The Cook Political Report

"Trenchant... a welcome resurrection."


"A gripping history of a moment when two visions of America clashed-with fists flying-throughout the Wall Street district. The Hardhat Riot excavates conflicts . . . that remain with us half a century later."

Yale University Professor of History and American Studies

"This is red-meat history with a hot splash of tabasco. David Paul Kuhn brings to life a period that is not only fascinating in itself but also illuminates the age of Donald Trump. If you want to understand how blue-collar Americans came to feel so disparaged and deplored, The Hardhat Riot is a great place to start. A truly captivating read."

The Economist

"David Paul Kuhn has breathed new life into an uproarious seminal event in modern political history, skillfully tracing fault lines running from the late 1960s up to the present. A timely, smart, adrenalin-fueled account conveyed with you-are-there immediacy."

Laurence Bergreen
author of Over the Edge of the World

"Hardhat Riot is an arresting and often chilling narrative of the events that drove a wedge between white working-class voters and the Democratic Party, setting America on the road to today's right-wing populism. I couldn't stop reading it. If you want to understand why cultural issues became central to our politics, read this book."

Former policy advisor to President Clinton & Brookings Institution Senior Fellow

"Largely through the microcosm of New York City, David Paul Kuhn's The Hardhat Riot delves deeply into the estrangement of the Democratic Party from America's blue-collar workers. For all of its fascinating detail of the travails of America's metropolis, The Hardhat Riot also offers a broad and rich panorama of American politics of the past 50 years and the most persuasive explanation for the rise of Donald Trump that has yet appeared."

Ross K. Baker
Rutgers University Professor of American Government

"Over the past 15 years few writers have covered this realignment with the consistency of David Paul Kuhn, whose warnings about the reasons white working people were moving away from the Democrats were largely dismissed by the news media and party elites. . . Mr. Kuhn remained an unacknowledged prophet. . . . Now he has synthesized his message with a lesson from history: The Hardhat Riot, a riveting account of . . . [a] clash on the streets of New York [that] came to symbolize the irreconcilable division taking shape in the rest of the country. . . . Mr. Kuhn avoids polemics and judgment, yet leads the reader to understand the deeper questions implicit in so many of today's political debates. . . . The Hardhat Riot insightfully explains why and how this happened. Perhaps the Democratic Party's leaders will finally understand what David Paul Kuhn has been trying to tell them."

Jim Webb
The Wall Street Journal
book review

"The Hardhat Riot, by David Paul Kuhn, vividly evokes an especially ugly moment half a century ago, when the misbegotten Vietnam War and a malformed notion of patriotism combined volatilely. They produced a blue-collar rampage whose effects still ripple, not the least of them being Donald Trump's improbable ascension to the presidency . . . this is a compelling narrative."

The New York Times book review

"Kuhn makes use of masterful, disturbing imagery to capture the clash . . . his narration is candid . . . the perspectives of both sides are shared without favoritism--only the facts. The text is fascinating as it traces the political breakdown that became the platform upon which Nixon built a new base. . . . Hardhat Riot is a timely review of a historical event that contains a reminder that class divisions also create opportunities within politics."

Foreword Reviews


"Perhaps the best book ever on how Democrats lost the white working class." —James Carville

"Sometimes events that are long forgotten have reverberations that dominate our times. In Hardhat Riot, David Paul Kuhn skillfully shows how the split between traditionally Democratic constituencies-blue collar workers and militant students-eerily foreshadows the bitter political splits of our time."

Michael Barone
Author of The Almanac of American Politics & American Enterprise Institute Emeritus Fellow

"David Paul Kuhn details, with much new research, the changing political conditions before and after the spring of 1970, when Nixon saw the opportunity after the May 8 Hardhat Riot. No previous book has so convincingly documented how important this single event was in changing the class base of both the Republican and Democratic parties."

Joan Hoff
former president of the Center for the Study of the Presidency