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American Individualism: How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party Hardcover – July 19, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Forum (July 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307718158
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307718150
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #548,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Guest Reviewer: John Calvin Batchelor on American Individualism by Margaret Hoover
John Calvin Batchelor is the host of a top-rated national radio program, The John Batchelor Show. Based in New York City at WABC, it airs seven nights a week from 9PM to 1AM. He is the author of Ain't You Glad You Joined the Republicans? A Short History of the GOP, and eight novels, among them, Father's Day and The Birth of the People's Republic of Antarctica.

In American Individualism, Margaret Hoover focuses on what we know so far of the Millennial generation of 20- and 30-somethings who voted 2 to 1 for Barack Obama in 2008. The Millennials welcomed the campaigning Obama's theme of hope and change; yet today they often feel ignored and helpless in the Great Recession and the stagnant Obama administration recovery. Margaret Hoover argues that the Millennials are now open to either of the major parties--or to no politics at all--and that the Republicans can gain the loyalty of the next generation of leaders by emphasizing tolerance, certainty and common sense. Margaret Hoover opens her quest with an anecdote from the 2004 election of George W. Bush, when she realized that the Republicans were deaf to the ambitions and assumptions of the youngest voters with issues as critical as same-sex marriage, immigration, and abortion, and she turned to this extended essay to correct the errors. Margaret Hoover is the great-granddaughter of President Herbert Hoover; she speaks carefully of Hebert Hoover's essay by the same title as this book, "American Individualism," which Hoover published in 1922 while he served the Harding administration as Secretary of Commerce. Herbert Hoover meant "American individualism" as a superior form of governance in competition with Communism, socialism, syndicalism, capitalism and autocracy. Margaret Hoover argues that her great-grandfather was an enthusiastic globalist who presented American individualism as an antidote to what he called "will-o'-the wisp of all breeds of socialism" that preaches altruism while it practices a cynical leveling that leaves bosses in charge.

Margaret Hoover emphasizes a reawakening of American individualism to counter the cynicism of the Federal government. Also, she joins her great-grandfather in seeing that American individualism is under assault not only by the dictator powers and the European Utopians but also by American politicians who aggrandize themselves with pious preaching of shared sacrifices, by which they mean higher taxes and fees on the so-called rich. Margaret Hoover is not uniformly rosy about the future: the Great Recession has frightened the young voters, the Millennials, into alienation and drift. Margaret Hoover does lay out a plan for attracting the Millennials with what she calls "competence over ideology." American Individualism is an edgily critical look at what the GOP is not doing or saying to attract the next generation. The elders of the GOP--I am one--will not welcome a change of music, but then growing old and moving on are not easy to accept. American Individualism is an earnest, often contrary, impatient measure of the GOP at the edge of another national election in which it can listen to the voice of Herbert Hoover through his great-granddaughter or it can lose the future electorate to Barack Obama and the Utopians.


“It is not her great grandfather’s Republican party anymore. And Margaret Hoover has written a book that old Herbert would enjoy. Sassy, opinionated, and smart, Ms. Hoover shakes up conventional GOP wisdom.” 
—Bill O’Reilly, Anchor, Fox News Channel
“Margaret Hoover, a fresh and brilliant young voice in the Republican Party, is bent on connecting the GOP to rising generations of the young. She has something to say to their elders, too. They'd best hear her.”
—Peggy Noonan, columnist, Wall Street Journal

“Margaret Hoover's American Individualism is a must read for every member of the Republican party—elected or otherwise—as a new generation of Republicans try to shine new light on who exactly we should be.”
—Meghan McCain, author of Dirty Sexy Politics

An insightful and important book”
—National Review

“Hoover is an engaging personality with timely advice for Republicans. Her book and her message…are helpful guides to candidates and political operatives. And frankly, the Republican Party of New York…might do well to get her on the ballot somewhere in 2012.”
Washington Post

“The 2012 Republican nominee would do well to take a page from Hoover’s book — a lot of pages.”
Chicago Sun Times

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By D. Robison on August 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a well written, interesting, and potentially important and influential book. Its theme is that the Republican Party is on the verge of losing an entire generation of voters for life - but, doesn't have to. "Millennials" comprise a fifty million strong generation of Americans born roughly between the years 1980 and 1999. They voted 2-1 for Barack Obama in 2008, but are disenchanted with his presidency and Ms. Hoover believes they could be in play for the Republican Party in 2012 and beyond. But, they are suspicious of and even repelled by the old-style social conservatism of the Republican Party. She believes they can only be attracted to the party by a Ronald Reagan-style big tent approach that emphasizes the bedrock principles of individual liberty that all conservatives can agree on.

Margaret Hoover is probably the only writer on the planet who would begin an appeal to twenty-something voters by defending the record and beliefs of Herbert Hoover. But, she is his great granddaughter, and she deserves a little leniency to make her case for the rehabilitation of his image. Although it seems a little out of place it's an interesting chapter and she makes an admirable attempt to connect his conservative beliefs to the approach she believes can unite modern conservatives. (The title of her book is taken from an essay he wrote in 1922.)

Chapter two is a very interesting brief overview of all the conservative "tribes". It's an enlightening quick read on the history of conservative thought and how all the different brands of conservatism came to attach themselves to the Republican Party.

Chapter three is the best chapter in the book. It is a detailed introduction to the Millenial generation and their life experiences and attitudes.
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18 of 28 people found the following review helpful By JWR on July 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hoover's book is amazing and a good look at how the Republican party is suppose to be. How any American can live here and believe the primary goal of the Republican party should be to control and force their religious beliefs on everyone else is beyond me...we have Freedom of religion which includes freedom from it. Republicans true to their values believe in small government... controlling marriage and reproductive rights is big government. If people actually knew the history of this country the religious right here would have no power. Our founding fathers were Deist not evangelical Christians. Hoover's book is a good lay out of how to stay true to conservative politics with a new generation of American's who are not racist homophobic ignorant bigots looking to force outdated illogical views down everyone's throat.
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12 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Richer on July 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Read this book. Seriously. If you're wondering about how the Republican Party can win back young voters and, subsequently, the majority of the country, then this is the book for you.

Hoover suggests a return to the long celebrated Republican/Conservative philosophy of limited government. But she shows us how this philosophy can be applied to modern problems and why it will appeal to modern groups. In this sense, Hoover (although she is a direct descendant of another President) resembles President Reagan and his ability to effectively communicate political philosophy in terms that average Americans can understand.

And this book is very understandable. It is clearly written -- sparing us the pretentious air of academic works -- and it is entertaining -- I enjoyed reading both Hoover's historical accounts of her great grandfather and her own Republican experiences.

Hoover is neither a neoconservative, a paleoconservative, a social conservative, or a libertarian Republican (as she ably describes them in her book). Rather, she is somebody who consistently applies limited government principles.

Again. Read this book if you're interested in helping shape the future Republican Party. If you don't like it, you can email me and yell at me for a false review... But you won't!
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14 of 22 people found the following review helpful By R. Holman on July 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Since I had just read David Mamet's "The Secret Knowledge," when I began to read "American Individualism" I was amazed to find Ms. Hoover's writing more succinct, more interesting and more effective. Similar themes of individualism reverberate through both books, but Ms. Hoover's conclusions are practical, specific, and, most important, interesting. I will give this book to many friends.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mike "Zemack" LaFerrara on January 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With the political philosophy expounded by her great grandfather Herbert Hoover in his original 1922 American Individualism as a "template," Margaret Hoover has proposed an innovative new direction for the Republican Party - to become a consistent defender of individual liberty. Significantly, she correctly asserts, the party must expunge the social authoritarianism of the Religious Right, including its opposition to reproductive freedom for women and marriage equality for gays and lesbians. If the Republican Party is to stand for individual freedom, it must stand for both economic and social freedom, and these premises underpin her proposed political platform for the party. This formula can draw in younger voters (the "millennials"), unite the myriad conservative factions, and lead to a Republican resurgence, she holds. For this courageous stance, she has been denounced by some establishment conservatives as a RINO - Republican in Name Only. But, she retorts, the party is currently headed for "irrelevance" unless it adopts "American individualism as [its] integrating philosophy. The political payoff of consistency in the matter of individual freedom of choice," says Hoover, "will be enormous."

I've given Ms. Hoover four stars mainly for political innovativeness. Unfortunately, the missing fifth star is a huge one - her failure to uphold individualism as a moral ideal. Instead, her central principle is "rugged individualism imbued with a community spirit:" "imbued," that is, with "responsibility to serve his or her community ... and country." Although she herself doesn't use the term, given her acknowledged inspiration it's clear that Hoover is speaking here of altruism.
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