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Look Homeward America: In Search of…
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Look Homeward America: In Search of Reactionary Radicals and Front-Porch… (edition 2006)

by Bill Kauffman (Author)

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572362,779 (3.81)2
In Look Homeward, America, Bill Kauffman introduces us to the reactionary radicals, front-porch anarchists, and traditionalist rebels who give American culture and politics its pith, vim, and life. Blending history, memoir, digressive literariness, and polemic, Kauffman provides fresh portaiture of such American originals as Catholic Worker founder Dorothy Day, regionalist painter Grant Wood, farmer-writer Wendell Berry, publisher Henry Regnery, maverick U.S. senators Eugene McCarthy and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and other Americans who can’t—or shouldn’t—be filed away in the usual boxes labeled “liberal” and “conservative.” Ranging from Millard Fillmore to Easy Rider, from Robert Frost to Mother Jones, Kauffman limns an alternative America that draws its breath from local cultures, traditional liberties, small-scale institutions, and neighborliness. There is an America left that is worth saving: these are its paragons, its poets, its pantheon.… (more)
Member:emvaughn
Title:Look Homeward America: In Search of Reactionary Radicals and Front-Porch Anarchist
Authors:Bill Kauffman (Author)
Info:Intercollegiate Studies Institute (2006), Edition: 1st, 250 pages
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Look Homeward America: In Search of Reactionary Radicals and Front-Porch Anarchists by Bill Kauffman

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I've been familiar with Bill Kauffman's columns for some years now in The American Conservative magazine (and he's in large part the reason I read the magazine in the first place), but his AmCon writing is somewhat spotty to me. I loved, for example, his cover-story interview with George McGovern several years ago ("Come Home, America: Why the Democrats Need a New George McGovern, and Why the Republicans Could Use One Too"), but some of his regionalism (his baseball stuff and that sort of thing) is just a little too, well, regional for me. :-)

This is the first of his books that I've read, and my feelings about it mirror his columns. I particularly loved the chapters on Dorothy Day and Carolyn Chute (as to Chute, I have a particular interest in Maine regional writing), and I very much liked the chapter on Eugene McCarthy and Pat Moynihan, but some of the others were take-it-or-leave-it for me, hence the three stars. That's probably, though, to be expected of a book like this, which is more a collection of essays than a serially progressing work. Some chapters you'll like, some you won't, and YMMV. ( )
  CurrerBell | Mar 22, 2012 |
Quite an engaging book about uniquely American cultural and political figures and the values of independence, localism and personalism. I disagree with Kauffman on quite a few particulars, but I enjoyed the book. He comes across as curmudgeonly and madly in love with America -- not in a large scale nationalist imperialist way, but in a profoundly moving attachment to place kind of way. He looks at some incredibly fascinating figures, never neglecting their less-than-flattering characteristics, but also not rejecting their legacy simply because of their lack of "perfection," ideological, moral or otherwise. ( )
  cyclopaedantic | May 30, 2009 |
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In Look Homeward, America, Bill Kauffman introduces us to the reactionary radicals, front-porch anarchists, and traditionalist rebels who give American culture and politics its pith, vim, and life. Blending history, memoir, digressive literariness, and polemic, Kauffman provides fresh portaiture of such American originals as Catholic Worker founder Dorothy Day, regionalist painter Grant Wood, farmer-writer Wendell Berry, publisher Henry Regnery, maverick U.S. senators Eugene McCarthy and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and other Americans who can’t—or shouldn’t—be filed away in the usual boxes labeled “liberal” and “conservative.” Ranging from Millard Fillmore to Easy Rider, from Robert Frost to Mother Jones, Kauffman limns an alternative America that draws its breath from local cultures, traditional liberties, small-scale institutions, and neighborliness. There is an America left that is worth saving: these are its paragons, its poets, its pantheon.

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