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Saving General Washington Paperback – May 18, 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher (May 18, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585424862
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585424863
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,129,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
J.R. Norton calls our current crop of political leaders to task with this wonderful, funny book. By paralleling the lives and actions of guys like Tom Paine, James Madison, John Locke, and other Founders and Framers, he does an incredible job of simultaneously making us ridiculously proud to be part of the legacy of these amazing men and making us feel embarrassed and outraged at the perversion of their values that has taken place during the Bush Administration. A wonderful, worthy read--one that will make you both laugh and cringe.
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Format: Paperback
Saving General Washington is a cleverly written treatise calling us to task on our national lack of historical memory. Norton's is an amusing ride, simultaneously weaving history and current events into one sharp commentary on who we are, where we came from and where we ought to be going.

Norton uses his firm grasp on current political events as a hook into the excellent contemporary literature on the founding fathers, creating a text that's easy to read if you are familiar with either -- and entertaining if you're familiar with both. It's hip and full of witty references -- but never to the point where it gets cutesy or the author becomes more into himself than the idea. I was most impressed by his ability to pull from historical research to provide a concise argument without getting lost in the details or horribly glossing over the historical subject matter.

One criticism could be that it doesn't go extremely deep into the history, but I'd argue that it serves its purpose by providing a good entree into the subject matter for those interested. There's worse things one could do than convince someone to pick up the latest McCullough biography. I'd also recommend Gordon Woods for anyone into these ideas.

For an example of the style, take Norton's discussion of business and politics -- where he contrasts Bush / Cheney to Franklin. Norton's description of Franklin, 'the official funny fat guy of the founding fathres and the nation's inspirationally folksy old bastard' is on the mark and hilarious. Norton does and excellent job of doing what our schools should have done -- reveal these old codges for the fascinating, contradictory, but ultimately foresighted people that they were and suggesting what lasting principles we might learn from them.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You know how some political books tend to drag on with recitations of facts and accusations? Not this one.

Norton's dry wit makes the book a true pleasure and frequently had me laughing out loud as few books have (with the possible exception of the Daily Show's America: The Book).

I couldn't recommend it more strongly.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This fascinating, meticulously-researched book takes a biting, clever and frequently hilarious look back at the founding fathers, the revolution they fought, and the constitution they miraculously crafted. Norton deftly connects the biggest issues and controversies of today with the cultural and political ideals of the founders, arguing convincingly and passionately that, contrary to what the Right would have us believe, the founders' policies, beliefs and priorities were incredibly progressive by today's standards. In fact, it is the the Left, and modern day progressives, who are the rightful heirs to the founders' legacy.

Filled with illuminating (and often quite amusing) quotes from the founding fathers' letters, books and speeches, this book transforms the remote, infallible, wig-wearing deities of elementary school parables and the "heads" side of money into real, flesh and blood men. By the end of the book (which I devoured in a single sitting), I felt like I KNEW these guys. But more importantly, I was reminded of how much I love this country and what it stands for, despite how horrifying and frightening I find its current leadership and policies. And, above all, how vital it is that the progressive, rational, tolerant, civic-minded people of this country -- the rightful cultural and political descendents of the founders -- fight to take it back.
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Format: Paperback
J.R. Norton's new book works on three levels. First, it is a timely reminder of how much the Founding Fathers anticipated and guarded against tyranny in the name of patriotism. While both society and political thought have obviously changed greatly since the late eighteenth century, Norton reminds us that we can still find inspiration in the Founders' remarkable ability to distinguish between legitimate expressions of political belief and self-serving rationalizations.

Second, the book is a lively primer on the founding texts of the United States, including the Federalist Papers, Common Sense, and Locke's Second Treatise. It also introduces and allows the reader to sample a number of excellent recent biographies on Hamilton, Tom Paine, and others. It should encourage readers to explore this period more deeply.

Third, the book is damn funny. The "Alternative Universe Daily Spectator" columns imagine what it would look like if George Bush were to follow the Founders' example on the PATRIOT Act, energy policy, or the intelligent design/evolution debate.

Highly recommended for general readers interested in history, political thought, and biography, and for advanced high school/introductory undergraduate American Government classes.
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