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America first! : it's history, culture, and politics /
Bill Kauffman ; foreword by Gore Vidal.
Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, 1995.
296 p. ; 24 cm.
0879759569 (alk. paper)
More Details
Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, 1995.
0879759569 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 257-281) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1995-05-22:
The America First movement is populism based on the philosophy of Thomas Jefferson, according to Kauffman, an editor for American Enterprise magazine. Here he traces the history of this movement from the birth of the nation up to the 1992 presidential campaign of Ross Perot, who, he claims, galvanized voters sufficiently to convince them that the Democrats and Republicans, ``our two-for-the-price-of-one political parties,'' are united in opposition to populism. Kauffman's treatise should prove to be controversial, no doubt intentionally, because his many villains include presidents Lincoln, Wilson, Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt and Reagan, while among his heroes are Hamlin Garland, Sinclair Lewis and William Fulbright. Kauffman pontificates, ``There is an enormous gulf between those who live in America and those who run it.'' One wonders: Where do they live, those who run our country? (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 1995-05-01:
Technically, Kauffman examines the "political underpinnings" of the cultural disturbances of the 20th century. However, the result is more a defense of the old Populist ideals going back to the days of Thomas Jefferson. The heroes here are the Midwestern populists who opposed the Civil War, advocated isolationism, and retreated from world involvement. While the populist movement had many worthy goals, this work reflects their "crankier" features: anti-Semitism, anti-immigration, conservatism, and extreme isolationism. The heroes are staunch isolationists like William Borah, Gerald Nye, Charles Lindbergh, Alice Roosevelt Longworth, and Sinclair Lewis. While he condemns Wayne Cole's Roosevelt and the Isolationist (Univ. of Nebraska Pr., 1983), the author does not provide the depth or even the research to match Cole's work. This book is instead based on shallow research and supported only by works that support the author's conclusions. Its only appeal is for those who wish to gain limited insight into the thinking of "Midwestern Progressives."‘Richard Hedlund, Ashland Community Coll., Ky. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This item was reviewed in:
Booklist, May 1995
Library Journal, May 1995
Publishers Weekly, May 1995
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Main Description
Bill Kauffman, described by the Washington Post as having the "pleasantly wicked touch of H. L. Mencken", examines the cultural factors and political schisms of 20th-century American nationalism. He weaves a fascinating tale that links Sinclair Lewis to NAFTA, 'The Best Years of Our Lives' to Ross Perot, and the Old Right to the New Left. He discusses the Perot phenomenon, the presidential campaign and the influence of Pat Buchanan, the impact of free trade agreements, the film industry of the 1930s, and a fascinating cast of characters and causes in what is sure to be controversial reading. As Gore Vidal notes in his foreword, "By studying our history [Kauffman] has latched on to some interesting facts (as opposed to opinions) that completely turn inside out the tedious liberal versus conservative debate, or grunting contest."
Main Description
This lively work explores the rich culture, the turbulent present, and the political future of the nationalist movement known as "America First".
Table of Contents
Forewordp. 9
Introductionp. 13
The Evolution of Populist Antiwar Sentiment
Ham 'n' Amos: The Populist and Patrician Roots of America Firstp. 27
There Are Left the Mountains: American Writers and the Perishing Republicp. 69
The Merchants of Death of Sunset Boulevardp. 85
Let Us Now Praise Famous America Firsters
Alice of Malice: The Other Side of Rooseveltismp. 103
Sinclair Lewis: It's a Grand Republicp. 117
Patriotic Gore Vidalp. 129
Fulbright: The First Arkansas Billp. 143
Edward Abbey: Parched in the American Desertp. 155
Jack Kerouac: The Beat Goes Rightp. 165
Autumn in New England: The Last Jeffersonianp. 175
America First Renewed
The New Party of the Old Republicp. 187
The Devil Thumbs a Ride: Buchanan, Perot, and the Middle American Revoltp. 209
The Coiled Rattlesnake: An America First Foreign Policy for the 1990sp. 235
Bibliographyp. 257
Indexp. 283
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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