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Buy American: The Untold Story of Economic Nationalism [Paperback]

Dana Frank
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

April 7, 2000 0807047112 978-0807047118
Are imports really to blame for disappearing American jobs? Tracing the history and politics of economic nationalism from the American Revolution to the present, labor historian Dana Frank demonstrates how "Buy American" campaigns are not a new idea. This entertaining story is full of surprises, including misguided heroes, chilling racism, and more than a few charlatans. Frank contributes a much needed new approach to the old debate between free trade and protectionism. She outlines a strategy that would serve the needs of working Americans instead of the interests of corporations and economic elites.

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When U.S. citizens were urged to "buy American" in the early 1930s in order to boost the national economy, African American thinkers such as Robert Abbott were quick to point out the irony: "Certainly we'll buy America first," he wrote, and went on to list the many products he'd now be buying--like steak dinner in a restaurant and theater tickets--which he had never been allowed to buy because of segregation laws. Not all Americans were as savvy as Abbott, however, and a tradition of "economic nationalism" that excluded from free trade almost as many within the borders of the United States as it did without enjoyed some success in those years, as it had in the years leading up to the American Revolution. Post-segregation, "Buy American" has become, among other things, an empty slogan for businesses who wish to appeal to patriotic sensibilities (like Wal-Mart, which just happens to also have "Buy Canadian" and "Buy Mexican" campaigns for its stores in those countries). In Buy American, Dana Frank advocates a "celebration" of the democratic ideal of such economic movements while refocusing the idea of "protectionism" to boost not simply corporate profits but the global interests of working people. This book is ripe with ideas, and so engagingly written that even chapters on 18th-century trade wars and 19th-century tariffs make for lively reading. --Maria Dolan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In this provocative and intelligent book, Frank (American studies, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz) examines the historical and socioeconomic roots of "Buy American" campaigns, analyzing the consequences for working people with surprising drama. "Buy American" campaigns date as far back as the Boston Tea Party. They also, as Frank illustrates through case studies involving William Randolph Hearst, Sam Walton, and the U.S. labor movement, have become a raison d'?tre for racism, a front for private interests, and a means of undermining working-class democracy. Frank does an excellent job of creating articulate arguments out of a complex blend of history, economics, and current events. Her call for a new approach to foreign economic relationsAone that promotes decent labor standards for workers worldwide and puts limits on capital mobilityAwill not meet with everyone's approval but should provoke stimulating discussion. Recommended for large public and academic libraries.ADonna L. Schulman, Cornell Univ. ILR Lib., New York
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (April 7, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807047112
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807047118
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,058,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough Treatment of a Fascinating Topic June 26, 2003
Format:Paperback
This book is a gem. Frank details how nationalism in the marketplace has been bought, sold and manipulated by interested parties over the course of American history. Yet her approach is even-handed, thought-provoking, and most importantly, solidly written with a stlye you just can't put down. Her facts are meticulously referenced, and her storytelling entertaining. I highly recommend the text. Get it from the library if need be!
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