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The Education of an Anti-Imperialist: Robert La Follette and U.S. Expansion (Studies in American Thought and Culture) Paperback – December 19, 2013
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"In The Education of an Anti-Imperialist, [Drake] describes La Follette's transformation from an unreflective supporter of U.S. policy into an ardent opponent of American imperialism. In effect, Drake traces the impact of critical ideas on one formidable politician's understanding of statecraft....the passage of time has not lessened the value of La Follette's prophetic warning that global leadership 'would make us the object of endless jealousy and hazards, involve us in perpetual war, and lead to the extinction of our domestic liberty.'"--Andrew Bacevich, The American Conservative
"Following close upon the revival of Theodore Roosevelt's reputation by best-selling author Doris Kearns Goodwin's The Bully Pulpit, another fresh and exciting volume brings us TR's nemesis within the Progressive Movement, Wisconsin's own Robert M. La Follette....They parted sharply on U.S. foreign policies, but in ways never clearly understood until The Education of an Anti-Imperialist....[The book] is an intense intellectual history of the most famous Wisconsin politician, how he grew and shifted his opinions dramatically."--Paul Buhle, Wisconsin State Journal
"For diplomatic historians Drake makes a superb contribution to understanding the myriad expressions of American anti-imperialism, and for historians of the Progressive Era the work builds on Nancy C. Unger's 2008 biography Fighting Bob La Follette: The Righteous Reformer."--Michael Patrick Cullinane, The Journal of American History
"In this meticulously researched and wonderfully well-written intellectual biography of the preeminent opponent of the war and of the peace, Wisconsin Senator Robert La Follette, Richard Drake permits us to view the period through very different conceptual lenses [from those of standard accounts].... As useful as Drake's book is for historians, it might most profitably be read by America's political thinkers, political leaders and policy makers."--Edward Rhodes, Political Science Quarterly
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Drawing extensively on a variety of primary sources, Drake uses the development of La Follette's political consciousness to reveal the corruption and greed behind the facade of the public guiding principles of American foreign policy, such as the Wilsonian notion of "making the world safe for democracy." The senseless death and destruction of WWI crystallized La Follette's thinking on the matter; the drastic military expansion caused by the war remained permanent and solidified a profit motive for military aggression.
Drake's book, in tracing La Follette's intellectual development, allows the reader to come to La Follette's conclusions as he did. For all hoping to understand the present situation of America in the world, this book is indispensable. La Follette remained steadfast in his faith that an educated democracy could combat the domination of the economy by the business elites of Wall Street. The costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that are the hallmark of 21st century American foreign policy coupled with the Great Recession make La Follette's critique more relevant than ever. In his focus on pragmatic reform and truth telling, La Follette eschewed utopian political ideology and offered a true return to the American values of self-sufficiency and freedom. In resurrecting La Follette's anti-imperialist critique, Drake shows how his ghost still haunts American politics--the military-industrial complex and the warfare it demands continues to lead America down a path of no return.
Beware: he predicted a dark future with corporations and the rich in charge, using the military to keep themselves well paid while screwing working Americans. and reading this book makes you squirm with recognition. Reading it changed my understanding. Highly recommended.
I knew a lot of how La Follette's reforms turned a brutal nation onto a path of a more compassionate domestic policy. I did not know as much about his track record on foreign affairs. Richard Drake's highly informative and completely readable work has filled in the gap in my knowledge. This book about a long ago time of political conflict is timely today. Imagine how the world would have been different if it had heeded La Follette's prescient warnings. Imagine how today's Middle East would be different if it hadn't been sliced up by the whims of empire and corporate greed. Just as oil has flowed from the Middle East, so too has the blood. As in so many issues he confronted, La Follette's impassioned stand against World War I was right. We -- and countless refugees streaming northward -- now bear the burden of the blunders and deceit of Mr. Wilson's and international corporatism's first world war.
This wonderful book is an essential guide to how we got where we now are.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Education of an Anti-Imperialist is a must read for anyone who is interested in the three of the most important subjects currently dividing Americans: the unequal division of... Read morePublished on May 27, 2014 by theodore bernstein