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A Time to Fight: Reclaiming a Fair and Just America Hardcover – May 19, 2008

63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“The best tour of the capitol I’ve ever taken . . . a vivid analysis of the folly of our foreign policy and the unfairness of our domestic one.”
—Margaret Carlson, Bloomberg.com

“A Time to Fight may be the best evocation of the twenty-first century Democratic Party’s emerging style and philosophy. Webb is a . . . terrific writer . . . and now he has written a policy book that is actually worth reading, an unprecedented feat for a sitting politician.”
—Joe Klein, Time

“Jim Webb is a serious writer, not a politician who writes books on the side . . . He offers a fresh approach to politics and stirs excitement.”
—Elizabeth Drew, New York Review of Books

About the Author

JIM WEBB is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and the author of nine books, including the bestselling cultural history Born Fighting and the classic novel of the Vietnam War Fields of Fire as well as Lost Soldiers, The Emperor's General, and three other novels. As a Marine in Vietnam he received the nation's second- and third-highest awards for combat heroism. He served as Assistant Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Navy during the Reagan administration. In January 2009, upon the retirement of Senator John Warner, Webb will become Virginia’s senior U.S. Senator. 


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway; 1 edition (May 19, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767928350
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767928359
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #621,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

138 of 144 people found the following review helpful By Kerry Walters VINE VOICE on May 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In his refreshingly good A Time to Fight, Jim Webb, junior senator from Virginia confesses that he once spent a few years as a boxer and that sometimes when he enters the Senate Chamber he thinks, "This is the ring. The American people can see us here, and listen to our arguments. This is where the fights matter." In A Time to Fight, he aims to let us know which battles he thinks are worth fighting.

If you think (as, I confess, I did before reading this book) that you've got Jim Webb pegged down as your typical charismatic, flag-waving warrior, think again. He reveals himself in these pages to be an independent thinker who doesn't parrot the latest partisan mantra but instead is imaginative and courageous enough to take the best from both sides of the aisle. He endorses the Nixon Doctrine, for example, actually calling it the best foreign policy of his lifetime. He's also a deeply patriotic man who admits that he feels humbled whenever he sees the Capitol building and thinks about what it symbolizes. Yet his patriotism and his understanding of the US as a superpower aren't chauvinist or neoconservative. He thinks the current war was a mismanaged and needless affair. He's extremely critical of the growing imbalance of wealth in this country. He calls for a revamping of the criminal justice system, worrying that the country has gone "completely jail happy." He warns that in recent years the executive branch has become disproportionately powerful. And he has a deep and abiding faith in the ability of citizens, when properly informed and responsibly represented, to govern themselves well.

Webb tells us early on that he has an "innate distrust of the ornaments of power," and most of the battles he wants to take on deal with the abuse of power.
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60 of 64 people found the following review helpful By J. Ronthi on May 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book doesn't always lend itself to partisan ideology, but, rather, is a remedial and a clarion call to those who are tired of a non-solutions based rigidity in Washington. A wake up call, I suppose.

I read this on a whim, having only heard of Webb in passing. I thought he sounded quite impressive when I heard him on c-span, so that made it easier. I enjoyed this book in totality. He is a lot deeper than he occasionally lets on, as his humble attitude tends to shield his incredible intellect at times. Until he actually starts to speak/type, whetever, then it is all very clear: Jim Webb is a true intellect.

Jim seems to be a gifted writer, as well. I don't know his methodology, but he is a fantastic story teller. Prose is readable, yet eloquent. Lots of historical references that help; many personal stories, too. Webb lays out a slue of new ideas, new ways of thinking about politics, and shares a sentiment that all parties can get down with. As with any book like this, I want to be glowing to a certain extent afterwards. I want to feel patriotic and like there is hope for American politics. This book achieves that.

Jim Webb is far more than an effective legislator; he is an honest character.

Check it out.
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44 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A. R. Westra on June 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I don't usually pick up contemporary political books, but decided to read Senator Webb's new book after hearing him speak on an NPR segment. As a probable McCain voter and moderate Republican, I also hoped to challenge my own political opinions.

Webb's discussion of the military was moving and pragmatic. He advocates a more influential and independent military, with long-term strategies and strong leaders, like MacArthur, who are not afraid to disagree with the President. With a very political, but nonetheless heartfelt tone, he speaks to the diversity of the military and how his experiences with other soldiers from very different walks of life ultimately forged his political views.

In much of the remainder of the book, the Senator provides a discourse against the class struggle that he believes to be destroying America. He attacks globalization, lucrative executives and special interests and portrays himself as a man of the people in contrast to many of the "elites" in the Senate. While I believe Webb supports many of the interests of the underprivileged, he is at times overly self-righteous. Especially considering that the Senator - a direct descendent of an officer who served with George Washington, son of a decorated military veteran, Naval Academy graduate and Former Secretary of the Navy - had a perfect pedigree for the Senate and many more advantages than most. In fact, he is more like his admired Tolstoy, the Russian literary giant and famed anarchist who was deeply grieved by his fellow aristocrats, than Truman, (of more humble origins) whom he also refers to.

There are further sections supporting a weaker executive branch that distinguish Jim Webb from other Democrats.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Herbert L Calhoun on May 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Senator Webb is one of only a few true intellectual heavyweight in our government: a writer, a Senator from Virginia (whom I am proud to say I voted for), who is also a war hero (and has a son in Iraq) from the white working class, a father of three, whose patriotism is neither worn on his sleeve, nor born of the normal ideological narrow-mindedness often cloaked in closeted racism. He lives and breathes a refreshing new kind of Americanism that sees this two-hundred year old experiment being sucked up into the Washington grinding machine of privilege, greed, narrow-mindedness and excess.

Webb worries, as so many of us do that the wheels are finally coming off this grand old 200-plus-year experiment. As he so aptly notes in this manifesto of his political philosophy and his concerns for our nation: At the same time that vast changes have begun to call into question every aspect of our national identity and even the foundation upon which our society was built, our politicians are engaged in false debates shaped by emotional side issues that only serve as detours and deflections around, or smoke screens hiding, the real ills that beset the nation. While China and India are rapidly moving ahead, "our political process has become so compromised by powerful interest groups and the threat of the petty politics of character assassination that even the best among us will not dare to speak honestly about the solutions that might bring us back to common sense and fundamental fairness.
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