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A Personal Stand: Observations and Opinions from a Freethinking Roughneck Mass Market Paperback


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (December 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345499344
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345499349
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #719,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Trace Adkins was born Tracy Darrell Adkins in Springhill, Louisiana. He learned to play guitar at an early age and eventually played with the New Commitments. In the early 1990s he performed solo in honky-tonks, and after gaining some fame he moved to Nashville and signed with Capitol Records. He has released seven albums. His most recent, Dangerous Man, debuted at number 1 on the Billboard country chart. A member of the Grand Ole Opry, Trace Adkins has appeared on numerous television shows, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Hannity & Colmes, and Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. He lives in Nashville with his wife and five daughters.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

The Day There Were No Planes

It’s a damn good thing I wasn’t the president after 9/11 because I would have . . . let’s not go there yet. But there are defining moments for every generation. The events of 9/11 were my generation’s defining moment, so we’ll start there.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was sitting in my garage watching TV like I usually do. It’s my morning ritual. When I’m home and off the road, I go out into the garage for a cigarette—because I can’t smoke in the house, which is cool. On that fateful day I dutifully retreated to the garage with my big mug of black coffee. I watched the Weather Channel to see if I was going to bother going outside, and then I flipped over to Fox News to start my day.

I was watching live news coverage when the second plane hit. As the shocking facts came together and it was apparent that the Twin Towers were being attacked by terrorists, I felt a deep rage building up to a boiling point. I was seething inside over the fact that someone would hate Americans so much as to commit such a heinous crime.

Then, like so many Americans, I needed to deal with the 9/11 tragedy on my own home front.

By lunchtime, after I had gotten over the initial shock of what had happened, I focused my attention on Mackenzie, my three-year-old little girl. I knew that what had just happened didn’t mean anything to her and that she had no idea what was going on.

At the time we lived just south of Nashville International Airport, far enough from it that the noise didn’t ever bother us, but still within its busy flight patterns. When the winds came out of the north, the aircraft flew high over our house on their approach to BNA. My little girl loved to watch the planes come over.

So that day, I took her outside and went to the front yard where we could both clearly see the sky. We lay down on our backs on a grassy knoll with the noonday sun beating down on our faces from a completely cloudless canopy.

I leaned over to Mackenzie and said, “Let’s see how many airplanes we can count.”

She was excited. So we waited. And we waited. There were no planes. No planes at all. Now, you can’t keep a three-year-old’s interest for very long.

“There are no planes,” she finally said and jumped up. “C’mon, Daddy, let’s go do something else.”

I held Mackenzie in my arms for a little while. Then I said to her, “Look at me, sweetheart, and I want you to remember this. There was a day when Daddy took you outside to see the planes and there were no planes flying anywhere in the sky. No planes.”

“Why, Daddy?”

“Today the president said, ‘No one can fly planes today,’ so there are none. Today’s the only day this will happen. You will never see this again. I want you to remember what Daddy showed you on the day there were no planes.”

That was the only way I could impress upon a three-year-old the importance of that sad and terrible time.



Chapter Two

Civis Americanis

The 9/11 attacks really made me think about my children and their future twenty years from now. Would they be free to pursue their everyday hopes and dreams without fear, without worrying that some evil person was going to plant a bomb in the mall or blow up an airliner? Were my children going to have to exist in a country riddled with fear?

Having to live in constant dread is like being forced back to the caveman days when every time you stepped outside, you had to worry about whether a saber-toothed tiger was going to eat you. Before 9/11, I thought civilization had progressed beyond that point. Yet with all this pent-up religious tension, I’m not so sure anymore.

Had I been president in September 2001, once we ascertained that Islamic fundamentalists had committed this atrocity I would have demanded a conference call with every Arab leader in the world:

“Listen. If this is the first salvo, the first shot, and if this is going to continue, then let it be known today that it will not continue for very long. We have the firepower to end this, and we’re willing to use it. My children and my grandchildren will not live in fear for the rest of their lives because that’s not living. That’s just existing.”

I would have put it all on the line.

“I’m warning you folks right now, I’m willing to end it all. I will incinerate this rock starting with Afghanistan, and I mean it. If you’re not going to get with the terrorist eradication program and get your shit together, and if you permit this stuff to go on in your own countries, by God, I will end this now. We will all go to our maker and we’ll let Him decide who was right.” (It would have been at that moment, hopefully, that some sensible person in my administration would have dropped a horse tranquilizer in my coffee.)

The United States didn’t ask to be the security force for the entire globe. That role is being forced upon us because nobody else will stand up against the evil in this world. That’s right. We’re being forcibly put in a position of responsibility because of the apathy and negligence of other world leaders. We didn’t ask to be the World Cop, and the American people don’t want that job any more than anybody else does.

I used to watch the television series West Wing. I loved that show and in the early days, although I’m a conservative, I never missed an episode and recorded the ones that I did miss. I dug it. It didn’t make me question any of my political affiliations; I enjoyed the show and kept it in perspective. My favorite episode was when Martin Sheen, as President Jed Bartlett, equated freedom and our way of life to the time of the Romans, when a Roman citizen could travel anywhere in the known world. And if ever he was confronted with potential trouble or danger all he had to say was, “Civis Romanis. I am a Roman citizen.”

So great and universal was the fear of retribution from Rome that any Roman citizen could walk anywhere in the known world cloaked in those words and immediately know that a given situation would be defused. He had the protection of the Roman Empire. Nobody messed with that. President Bartlett was saying on West Wing that that is the way it should be for American citizens today. We should be able to travel the globe and say, “Civis Americanis. I am an American citizen.”

We are the most powerful nation on the globe, and by God, that comes with benefits! I’m not saying we should travel in arrogance or cockiness and strut through downtown Baghdad expecting people to part like the Red Sea. All I ask is for the rest of the world to treat Americans with respect so we don’t have to kill you. (Oh, lighten up! I’m just kidding.)

Contrary to what some people on the left might intimate, Americans are not indiscriminate killers. We have to be provoked to strike. It’s like that famous World War II quote attributed to Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor: “I fear all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” Now whether or not he actually uttered those exact words, he surely knew what the Japanese had just done. They’d committed a military blunder. They had just opened up a big can of whup-ass. Retribution was coming, and he knew it.

As Americans, we won’t mess with you or bother you, but just know that when you kill innocent Americans, you’ve opened that can and we’re gonna come for you. Like the Romans did. For every one of our people you kill, we’re going to kill a thousand of yours. And if you think you have the Monopoly money to stay in the game, then keep on and know that every time you land on Boardwalk, we’re gonna collect.

i appeared on bill maher’s show Politically Incorrect on ABC exactly one month after the World Trade Center destruction. I was booked along with Julian Epstein, a former chief Democratic counsel for the House Judiciary Committee; an environmental writer named Bjorn Lomborg; and Elayne Boosler, a comedienne who had been active with the Democratic Party and the National Organization for Women. All through the show, those three guests were preaching this peaceful message of tolerance toward Muslims. Bill was having none of it and neither was I.

Maher quoted a New York Times Magazine article by journalist Andrew Sullivan saying that 9/11 was part of a religious war being waged by Osama bin Laden and extremist Muslims and that “the religious dimension of this conflict . . . represents a part of Islam that certainly cannot be denied or ignored.” Maher went on to quote a few intolerant verses from the Koran, including “kill them where you find them,” referring to all of us so-called “infidels.”

I was surprised at the reaction of the other three panelists. Boosler was quick to point out that such verses could be found in the Bible. Epstein emphasized that 9/11 should not ignite a war against Islam, and mentioned that some of the Christians who bombed Sarajevo during the Bosnian conflict were also driven by the same kind of extremism. The tree-hugging author mentioned the Crusades from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and suggested that we help modernize and educate Islamic people so they wouldn’t buy into bin Laden’s beliefs. All three felt that education would help stem this tidal wave of extremism and terrorism.

Horse dookey! (Writing about this without cussing is hard.)

I thought to myself, Is this what the average American was thinking today, October 11, 2001? Hell no! I saw a full-scale guilt-trip pity party going on. I couldn’t believe these people were wringing their hands and talking this way one month after 2,973 America...

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Customer Reviews

I thought it was very thought provoking as well as entertaining.
L. Pletka
I like how Trace states very plainly, he is not trying to get anyone to vote his way - this is just his thoughts.
lovetoread
I received this book yesterday and did not put it down until I was finished reading it.
B. Fitzpatrick

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Bowen on November 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I happened to catch Trace Adkins talking with Glenn Beck on CNN regarding his book and became intrigued - and after reading it, I am duly impressed. Who would have thought "Mr. Badonkadonk" had such clear and articulate thoughts? While the book almost reads like a journal, Trace shares some opinions that might be unpopular with some segments of peace-loving society (his Bill Maher appearances are a scream), you have to give him credit for expressing them so well.

I totally enjoyed this book and hope Trace will consider writing more in the future.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By K. Kraus VINE VOICE on July 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I stumbled across this book while looking for Trace's music. I had no idea he had written a book. Based on the summary and excerpts on the main Amazon page, I was intrigued enough that I had to read it. I was pleasantly surprised! No one likes to be underestimated, but I'm sure Trace is always hearing people say that they're surprised at how well-spoken and smart he is. He's a self-proclaimed history buff and he seems to really keep up on current affairs, too.
Though Trace is a conservative and I'm pretty liberal, I still respect the opinions he expresses because they seem to be well researched. He's wise enough to know that his party, the Republican party, has serious issues. The subject of the war in Iraq comes up frequently throughout the book, and Trace has strong opinions about what has been done wrong in the way we've handled it so far.
Though the book doesn't really claim to be an autobiography, rather a collection of Trace's observations and opinions, I really liked the little stories about his life. Those were my favorite part. If you love Trace's music and want to learn how his music career progressed, that is covered in here, too. And if you're like me, you won't even mind if his opinions and yours don't always gel.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Brenda Winslow on November 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I received this eagerly awaited book and almost immediately started reading. Readers had been warned that Trace Adkins was very direct with his observations and opinions, and that was true! I really love how Trace used his life stories to explain where his thoughts came from. He is a very deep thinking, deep feeling person. It comes across in his music and it definitely comes across in this excellent book. It was very educational for me. He explained a lot of things I've heard on the news so even I could understand! Even if you don't agree with his opinions, you have to admire his love for his family and his country. Civis Americanis!!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By F. Z. Francisco on December 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I finished the first read. There will be many more. This is a real page-turner of a book. Hawks will love it and Doves will scoff at it but all will find it an irresistable and enlightening book.

Books take you to places you my otherwise never go. That is what Trace did throughout this book. It is well researched and very well written. As I read, I laughed out loud, got a big lump in my throat and tears in my eyes and pumped my fist in the air and said "YES!! YES!!" I found myself nodding my head in agreement through almost every passage on the political level.

From the first sentence, the book pulls you in and holds your attention. A definite "10"!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. Hollerich on November 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Your Title:
Personal Stand

Here is how your review will appear on the title page:

Funny and good reading

Great Read!!! Thanks Trace, I got the book and did not know what to expect. But once again Trace did not let me down. The book was great and written in typical Trace fashion. It put to rest all the rumors I have heard from being a fan since 2001. His views on certain things agree with my own and some points we disagree on but remember when reading this, it is Trace's views not everyone's. Any Trace fan that wanted a more in depth look at the man should buy this book!! Thanks Trace for the laughs in the book!!! So if you want a few laughs and have some quiet time pick up the book! You will not regret it! Remember if you have some hard to buy for Trace fans this would make the perfect Christmas present!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Karen Cumming on November 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I highly recommend this book. This book will make you laugh, cry and think. It is very seldom that you will read a book written by a celebrity that is this honest and refreshing. Mr Adkins tells it like it is. If you are not a Trace Adkins fan now, once you read this book you will be one!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tamara Tilley on June 23, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
A PERSONAL STAND by Trace Adkins was part autobiographical, part personal commentary, and completely enjoyable.

Anyone who knows Trace Adkins' music knows there are two sides to the country singer. He's got his alcohol induced, rebel rousing anthems, such as Honky Tonk Badonkadonk, One Hot Mama, and I Got My Game On. And then there are his introspective tunes like You're Gonna Miss This, I Wanna Feel Something, She Thinks We're Just Fishing, and the haunting Arlington. And now, in the pages of A PERSONAL STAND, you get to hear Trace Adkins' opinion on hot topics like, Immigration, 911, the wars we are waging on foreign soils, the economy, and you get a feel for his passion for history and his beloved South.

I finished A PERSONAL STAND in one day because it was so different from the fiction I usually read. In a word, I would call the country singer with the bad-boy image a conservative. Though he expresses his disappointment with the Republican Party of late, his values and principles line up with what this country was founded on. Freedom. Not the freedom to burn the flag, abuse free speech, or turn the other cheek when others walk all over our constitution, but the freedom to disagree with the government without personal threat, to put in a hard's day work for a hard's day pay, the importance of military involvement versus tolerance of radicals, why deportation of illegal's is not us as a nation being intolerant, but the U.S. needing to protect its borders and following the laws on the books to protect our own economy, and numerous other topics.

A PERSONAL STAND was a great read! Though Adkins' doesn't sugarcoat his personal abuses of alcohol or the break-up of his marriages, he sure hits the nail on the head in regards to the state of our union.
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