Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: That's Not What They Meant!: Reclaiming the Founding Fathers from America's Right Wing
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on January 9, 2013
How sad that people can organize a review bomb of a book they have not read but have been told to be afraid of. Austin is certainly right: That kind of " democracy" is NOT what Americas founders intended!
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on January 8, 2013
A good book which does it's best to pull apart the far right willful misinterpretations of our founding documents. It's smart and self-critical and actually written by an academic.
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on January 15, 2013
This book does an excellent job of explaining the true meaning of our constitution. It is well thought out and filled with historical evidence. Please don't listen to reviewers that never even read the book. You need to read this! Decide for yourself where the truth lies. Well done Mr. Austin!
0Comment| 48 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 8, 2013
I was not going to write a review of this excellent, balanced piece of scholarship. That's because I normally do not write book reviews at all on Amazon. However, when I started to order this for a friend, I noticed the avalanche of negative reviews all posted today - all by Right Wing nutjobs it appears. I wish Amazon had a way of dealing with this. To those of you contemplating ordering this book, I urge you to buy it and read it. It should be assigned reading for every true American and patriot.
44 comments| 139 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 8, 2013
This book is a well written document describing how statements from our founding fathers need to be taken in context, in order to understand what they were saying to the American people.
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on January 8, 2013
This book does what journalists should have done during the past decade. Since 1994, the extreme conservative wing of the Republican party has tried to co-opt the founding fathers to serve their purposes. Using proof-text citations, they pull one or two sentences out of context and use them to justify their stances. This book places those quotations back into their contexts and shows that the right is being sloppy at best, and blatantly dishonest at worst, in their invocation of the founders.

The author claims to not be a liberal. To the extent that the author appears to have an axe to grind, it is with the misuse of historical documents, not in political ideology. And as an English professor specialized in 18th century political texts he is probably more able to interpret what the "founders" meant than anyone, and definitely more able than the likes of Glenn Beck.

Today a number of one-star reviews showed up. Undoubtedly by people prompted by this right-wing website's encouragement: [...] (the link is to a screenshot on the author's blogpage). I am sure they did not read the book. If you read their reviews you will undoubtedly come to the same conclusion.

The book is a good read. At times repetitive, but it does a good job in assessing what the founders thought (hint - they NEVER agreed) and how this is represented in today's media. One eye-opener in the book is that the mudslinging that is so commonplace today was not better in the past. If anything, it was worse.

Read the book yourself. If you hate it, please come back and rate it a one. I think you will give it a four or five.
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on January 15, 2013
As a moderate Republican, combat veteran, and Mormon- I find this book a refreshing look at our founding fathers. I am tired of the right-wing of my party demonizing everyone that doesn't agree with their radical opinions. This book is written for everyone that agrees with this sentiment. It is thought provoking and well balanced. Mr. Austin has created the go-to book for anyone interested in the truth. If you cant handle the truth- don't read it.
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on January 8, 2013
I greatly enjoyed this book. It takes a primarily centrist view that highlights some of the reasons why compromise and statesmanship have been stymied at many levels of government. It also illustrates how oversimplification of history is a dicey business. Excellent read for the current state of government.
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on February 1, 2013
If you are a rightwing or leftwing extremist, you will not like this book.
If you want a reasonable, not too technical perspective on the misuse of history by propagandists, this is the book for you.
As other reviewers has pointed out, a right-wing group has made a concerted effort to give this book a low rating. All but one negative review was written on the same day and they only give one or two line jabs that provide no specifics. Pretty lame.
If you really have a beef with the book, give specific references to where you think the book is wrong and provide reasonable evidence why the author got it wrong. I welcome a good rebuttal to this book and would like to learn from other's knowledge and perspectives.
If you can only view things from a rightwing or leftwing perspective do the following:
1. Express your irrational fears and hype by typing it out on your computer, the longer the better.
2. Print a copy
3. Most importantly, for the collective good, burn or shred said copy.
4. Go out and find rational people you can express yourself to that can disagree without ranting or being abusive.
5. Learn from your new friends.
This is a good book and I hope more authors will stand up to propagandists that seek demonize people who seek a more rational discourse.
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on February 27, 2013
I found this book very enlightening and informative about the Founders. I hadn't realized what a broad spectrum of opinions they had! This book shed a lot of light for me on how important compromise was to the creation and ratification of the Constitution. The author writes clearly and with a touch of humor. Highly recommended!
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