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Ain't My America: The Long, Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism and Middle-American Anti-Imperialism Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 15, 2008
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"Here begins the effort to restore a principled conservatism after the havoc wreaked by George W. Bush. Bill Kauffman is a terrific writer and Ain't My America is a terrific—and essential—book."—Andrew J. Bacevich, author of The New American Militarism
"This is my kind of book: historically grounded, fiercely honest, and wonderfully expressed. It is one of the best books I’ve read in years. Bill Kauffman is a conservative of the highest order, unlike the false brand now conducting our national affairs."—George McGovern
"You don't have to be a liberal, a progressive, or a socialist to oppose war and imperialism. Bill Kauffman's Ain't My America is a must read for those free-marketers, right wingers and conservatives who want to live in peace with the world. Regardless of your politics, if you are against wars of aggression and would like to try something other than bombing our way out of our problems, you will profit from this lively book."—Nicholas von Hoffman, author of Hoax: Why Americans are Suckered by White House Lies
"For those who have been neoconned into believing that conservatism means unquestioned support for the warfare state, Ain’t My America is the perfect way to show that real conservatives defend peace and liberty."—Ron Paul
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
I wish I'd written this book.
"Ain't My America" is not simply one of the number of books coming out these days calling on the GOP to resuscitate its ancient dedication to peace, economy, and small government. Admirable as those books are, "Ain't My America" has a much larger scope, and Bill Kauffman a much more ambitious brief: the dismantling of empire, the rediscovery of community, and the rebirth of the patriotism of home, family, and locality.
It's, frankly, an unfamiliar and at times uncomfortable message. As the son of a navy family, I found myself strangely moved by Kauffman's description of the toll the unrooted military-family lifestyle has on marriages and children -- and while I admit to never having quite thought of it this way before, I find myself in absolute agreement with his contention that "family-values conservatives" should be the strongest opponents of war and militarism, precisely because of the impact those forces have on families and children. Once you accept that, it's hard to deny the author's contention that George W. Bush "is, by policy, the most antifamily president in American history" (p. 216).
And that's just one of the powerful arguments Kauffman presents. It definitely makes we want to track down his other books at the earliest opportunity.Read more ›
I loved this book and am amazed at the quality and prolific nature of this writer, what do they put in the water in Batavia? A minor quibble would be parts of chapter five. While interesting and well written, the criticism of space program (certainly a major budgetary boondoggle) doesn't quite seem to fit the overall theme of the book.
I feel that I have been introduced to a whole new crew of All-American heroes. I knew something about the eccentric John Randolph of Roanoke, but have a newfound respect for the portly anti-colonialist Grover Cleveland and, who would have thought it, the much maligned George McGovern.
The historian James Martin was once interviewed. Although usually labelled a 'revisionist' Martin preferred to see himself as an 'additionist', remembering what the other books leave out. Kauffman too has delivered a worthy additionist effort.
This is a passionately partisan and in many ways joyous book. Kauffman introduces a grand selection of characters, not all, but most of them heroic, making a stand for peace and the defense of the old constitutional republic against the many faces of Mars.
Kauffman's shows the great western tradition of American neutralism that crosses party and generational boundaries. George McGovern (Dem.) of South Dakota and North Dakota's Senator Nye (Rep.), the pre-WW2 champion of the Neutrality Acts, both share common roots deep in the American heartland. He explores the careers of Robert Taft and Howard Buffett, of Students for a Democratic Society's Carl Oglesby (who dreamed of a New Left / Old Right alliance against the Vietnam War, before the Marxists threw him out), the Anti-Imperialist League of the late 19th century and Bob Dylan, amongst a phalanx of antiwar artists and writers, more often than not agrarians. He reminds us of the antiwar writings of Robert Nisbet, perhaps postwar America's leading sociologist, certainly leading conservative sociologist, who penned a radical critique of the impact of war as the progenitor of many of the ills of modern society.Read more ›
Kauffman can write, no doubt about that, and he articulates an anti-war (or technically, pro-neutral) position that is vastly underrepresented in US textbooks and history lessons.
Because of that, this book is eye-opening. It describes the vibrant intellectual American tradition urging the US to forego it's imperialist behaviours, stop trying to establish Jeffersonian democracy everywhere (or pretending to), and instead focus on being the beacon that enlightens the world rather than the drone that attacks it.
Given that the US has not won a war that lasted longer than a week, it's time to listen anew to this approach.
Only 3 stars because of his idiosyncratic writing style which favours style over substance at times and relies on anecdotal quotations too much. Still, I'll be reading more by Bill Kauffman.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As a veteran of 2 tours in Afghanistan and a former neocon, I went into this book rather hesitantly. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Ben
Didn't know about half the material covered. Very good if you are an anti war conservative and feel left out of the groupPublished 24 months ago by Donttreadonme
Bill Kauffman is the only political writer worth reading. He isn't left or right or in the middle. He is right where he should be. And this is his masterpiece.Published on April 22, 2014 by Chris O
This work makes the point that nonintervention in foreign wars is, contrary to modern misconceptions, the conservative position. Read morePublished on June 15, 2013 by Steve America First
Rather than repeating what other 5-star reviewers have pointed out, I'll hail Kauffman as the first to persuade me that there are great advantages to repealing the income tax! Read morePublished on April 29, 2012 by Ronald Haak
This is truly an outstanding work. Ain't My America is a fine history of anti-imperialism in American Conservatism. Read morePublished on April 18, 2012 by Kyle
As we enter our twentieth year in Iraq and our tenth year in Afghanistan, we are now learning to acknowledge that the term "perpetual war for perpetual peace" has a significant... Read morePublished on April 24, 2011 by Efrem Sepulveda
Kauffman tells us that there is a long and honorable tradition of antiwar thought among the American right, though unfortunately muted at times. Read morePublished on December 24, 2008 by Loyd Eskildson
In "Ain't My America" Bill Kaufmann gives a history of American politicians that have gone against imperial ambitions during various eras of our government. Read morePublished on December 23, 2008 by J.L. Populist