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Bye Bye, Miss American Empire: Neighborhood Patriots, Backcountry Rebels, and their Underdog Crusades to Redraw America's Political Map Paperback – July 10, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing (July 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933392800
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933392806
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #368,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Throughout American history, the right of states to secede has been considered alternately sacrosanct and treacherous, and despite the Civil War, the idea has never quite left the American mindset. Modern secessionist movements appear periodically (an independent Texas or Vermont; a separate South; calls from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Alaska to split from the union; and movements to divide large states like California and New York). Kauffman, whose politics are "localist, decentralist, libertarian," offers an unabashedly pro-secessionist slant to his reports on the many movements, but readers can discern, through all his editorializing, a thoughtfully researched exploration of legitimate grievances and possible redresses against large government entities. Kauffman is a staunch advocate of local government and minimal federal involvement and that stance colors all he writes, but he's also intelligent and extremely funny; even people who disagree with his politics will embrace his voice, and history and political science enthusiasts will find this thought-provoking and intensely enjoyable. Kauffman may not cover all the nitty-gritty of secession (diplomacy, energy policy, and interstate highways to name a few), but readers get a strong sense that this movement isn't nearly as antiquated as our textbooks would have us believe. END

Review

Booklist-
It's not exclusive to those nostalgic for the Confederacy: secession has adherents from sea to shining sea. Kauffman samples proponents historical and contemporary of separation from the Union, discovering as bewildering a cast of constitutional autodidacts, rural rebels, and pastoral potheads as will be found in the current-affairs genre. The homogeneity within such heterogeneity is a view that the tax-collecting, regulation-issuing, and expeditionary-force-dispatching power centers of Washington or Sacramento are inimical to Jeffersonian self-governance. Do-it-yourself democrats march through Kauffman's pages, advocates for a riven New York, a fissiparous Kansas, three Californias, or a U.S. truncated by a (Second) Republic of Vermont. The don't-tread-on-me spirit assuredly attracts its share of mad tinfoil hatters and ornery independents, but there are also plenty of solid-citizen types here. Kauffman's exploration in political heresy is an amiable, vocabulary-bending jeremiad that exalts the local over the global, extols the two-lane road over the interstate highway, and simply defies a Left-Right dichotomy. An entertaining rant for the political set.



Publishers Weekly-
Throughout American history, the right of states to secede has been considered alternately sacrosanct and treacherous, and despite the Civil War, the idea has never quite left the American mindset. Modern secessionist movements appear periodically (an independent Texas or Vermont; a separate South; calls from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Alaska to split from the union; and movements to divide large states like California and New York). Kauffman, whose politics are "localist, decentralist, libertarian," offers an unabashedly pro-secessionist slant to his reports on the many movements, but readers can discern, through all his editorializing, a thoughtfully researched exploration of legitimate grievances and possible redresses against large government entities. Kauffman is a staunch advocate of local government and minimal federal involvement and that stance colors all he writes, but he's also intelligent and extremely funny; even people who disagree with his politics will embrace his voice, and history and political science enthusiasts will find this thought-provoking and intensely enjoyable. Kauffman may not cover all the nitty-gritty of secession (diplomacy, energy policy, and interstate highways to name a few), but readers get a strong sense that this movement isn't nearly as antiquated as our textbooks would have us believe.



"History doesn't stand still, no matter how many times you sing 'The Star-Spangled Banner.' Bill Kauffman brings an antic verve to the sobering question of America's ability to hang together as one nation. He correctly perceives that the end of one story is the beginning of a whole new one."--James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency and World Made By Hand


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Customer Reviews

I believe readers will enjoy the book.
Steve Burns
Kauffman makes his points throughout the book and can write with an amusing twist.
DWD's Reviews
I'm not genius but I'm not stupid either.
LoveGuitar

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jason A. Gagnon on July 26, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a journey through the quirkier quarters of the contemporary American political landscape - well, the American landscape that isn't too enamored with being America anymore.

The closing chapter on Vermont is the best, and the chapter on the South the most thought provoking. The hodge-podge section that covered a handful of secessionist movements is tantalizing in it's brevity.

You may feel like these folks are all tilting at windmills, but no empire lasts for ever. These people are laying the groundwork, if only by offering up their dreams as a framework for the future- for more human scaled world.

If you're interested in secessionist movements, particularly from a Backporch Republic/Small is Beautiful perspective, pick up this book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Andrew S. Rogers VINE VOICE on October 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In one sense, "Bye, Bye, Miss American Empire" is a book for and about people for whom the main problem with Tom Woods' great Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century is that it doesn't go far enough. And yet, while objection to, and reaction against, Leviathan is a fundamental part of this book and a key motivator for many of the people and movements it profiles, there's something still deeper going on here too. That, as anyone familiar with Bill Kauffman's work could tell you, is a powerful love of the small, the immediate, the local. That, ultimately, makes this book not so much an argument *against* empire (although it's certainly that) as it is an argument *for* political communities on a human scale.

This volume combines introductions to various historic and contemporary American secessionist movements, and key figures behind them, with Kauffman's own thoughts on the questions of unity and separation. Though a believer in the right -- and sometimes the desirability -- for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another (to quote Mr. Jefferson), he is far from an uncritical admirer of everything that might result. But then, that's exactly the point. As he writes in a discussion of same-sex marriage in Vermont, "devolution is the great defuser of explosive issues: Let Utah be Utah, let San Francisco be San Francisco, let Vermont be Vermont" (p. 230). Or, elsewhere, "The Hawaiian islands are almost five thousand miles from my Genesee County.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Janet Perry VINE VOICE on November 20, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have say that while I expected something different from this book, I liked the author's wonderful rhetorical style and appreciated the care and sympathy with which he described secessionist movements and the history. I liked that he included things from the recent past and that, while he is clear about his own beliefs and political leanings, he gives a fair portrait of people and movements where he is less sympathetic.

But I found myself throughout wishing for more. I felt as if he didn't go to where I think his book would have been great instead of good. It seemed to me, reading the book, as if all these various secessionist movements had some characteristics in common. But this is never discussed explicitly. Yes, the author points out that these groups have different points of view, but I would have liked to learn what is in common between someone wanting a Texas Republic and someone thinking of the State of Jefferson have in common besides a desire for their regional characteristics and a dislike of large centralized governments.

And I also found myself asking throughout if these smaller states could exist and support themselves. It's all well and good to quote proponents of various secessionist movements that they can support themselves, but it is another matter to ask, and answer, the question of how this could work.

My final concern is one of terminology. The movements he chronicles range from people wanting totally independent countries (or even cities) to commonwealths, to new republics to only new states. And sometimes more than one of these options live in the same area. I would have liked to see some explanation of the differences and what they mean.

We are presented with history and data here, excellent stuff, but it needs to be brought together into some sort of conclusion. But perhaps that is another book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kid Kyoto VINE VOICE on July 20, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Bye Bye Miss American Empire is a tour of seperatist groups trying for their own reasons to peacefully withdraw from the United States.

It's an interesting idea but author Bill Kauffman is much too sympathetic to their cause. After reading a few glowing chapters on rugged patriots standing up against big government the book becomes dull and through it all I wonder why Kauffman is not willing to acknowledge the darker sides of some of these movements.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Steve Burns TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 1, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book proclaims the right for people to rule themselves at a level local enough to ensure fair government that tends to the needs of its citizens. The book and the people featured in the book deny the ability of the United States to govern such a large area spread from Alaska in the north to Hawaii in the west. From New England, to the deep South, from the nation spread all the way from the Western U.S. coast to the East coast spread far and wide. The United States has the giant states of Texas and California that are as large as many countries and our scattered islands that are commonwealths.
The book states the case that our once small proud republic of 13 colonies has become a bloated Empire. The author interviews many members of secessionist organizations that believe the states do have the right to succeed from the U.S. Vermont was its own republic from 1776 to 1791 and some would like it to return to independence. The League of the South believes the old Confederate States of America really are a nation unto themselves and want to be independent. Should New York City be its own state free of upstate New York? Is California so big and diverse that it could be broken into three separate states, Alta California, California, and Baja California? If they do not get a grip on their socialist bent they will end as the People's Republic of California. There are groups calling for the independence of states to create the Nation of Alaska, the Kingdom of Hawaii, and the Republic of Texas.
Their are plenty of angry citizens to go around, the liberals are furious with the Bush/Cheney Empire building. The Tea Party is furious with the out of control tax and spending of both parties.
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