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That's Not What They Meant!: Reclaiming the Founding Fathers from America's Right Wing

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That's Not What They Meant!: Reclaiming the Founding Fathers from America's Right Wing Cover

ISBN13: 9781616146702
ISBN10: 1616146702
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

This book is essential reading for anyone seeking the accurate historical background to many of the today's hot-button political debates. In 2011, Glenn Beck released a "modern translation" of the Federalist Papers and a new biography of George Washington. In the same year, Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, published a book in which he argued that the Founding Fathers intended the individual states to be more powerful than the federal government. Each of these books, and many others published over the past few years, presents the Founding Fathers as a group of wise, philosophically indistinguishable statesmen who spoke about timeless issues with a unified voice. In the place of rigorous history, the authors substitute out-of-context proof texts; in the place of real analysis of the remarkable individuals who created America, they offer us a collective mythology of the founding era. This book examines dozens of books, articles, speeches, and radio broadcasts by such figures as Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, Larry Schweikart, and David Barton to expose the deep historical flaws in their use of America's founding history. In contrast to their misleading method of citing proof texts to serve a narrow agenda, Austin allows the Founding Fathers to speak for themselves, situating all quotations in the proper historical context. What emerges is a true historical picture of men who often disagreed with one another on such crucial issues as federal power, judicial review, and the separation of church and state. As Austin shows, the real legacy of the Founding Fathers to us is a political process: a system of disagreement, debate, and compromise that has kept democracy vibrant in America for more than two hundred years.

Review:

"Austin (Reading the World), English professor at Newman University, condemns the way right-wing figures such as Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, David Barton, and Larry Schweikart use the founding fathers to promote their own politics. He addresses the issues of original intent, federal power, judicial review, and church-state relations, padding his commentary with 46 pages of founders' documents. Though Austin rightly distinguishes between the views of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and the talk-radio 'conservative fringe,' he rails against an incoherent version of America's past and the 'right wing's anti-judicial rhetoric,' ignoring the same on the left, from historian Howard Zinn to court review of health legislation. Dropping any pretense of scholarly objectivity toward the end, Austin gives a thumbs-up to facts and narratives 'to beat up our ideological opponents.' He concludes with a shout, 'Mr. Levin and Mr. Beck: I'm sick and tired of YOU putting down my country.' Austin's self-righteous disdain will appeal to readers for whom 'right wing' denotes imbecility or evil. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

Michael Austin (Wichita, KS) is the author or editor of six books, including Reading the World: Ideas That Matter. He is provost, vice president for Academic Affairs, and professor of English at Newman University.

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Holly Scudero, April 24, 2013 (view all comments by Holly Scudero)
Over the years, different political factions have tried to claim the Founding Fathers as their own, saying that their views align perfectly with those of the men who founded America, and clearly anyone who disagrees with them (and therefore the Framers) is unpatriotic and just plain wrong. What so many people don't seem to realize is that Founders were not a homogeneous group; they were a diverse group of men who did not agree on everything, and thus anybody willing to do a little research can find quotes from that era that show how the Founders agreed with them. The Founders argued and fought and eventually compromised their way to the Constitution that still guides us today as we govern ourselves. Austin shows that our government works because we don't agree and are forced to compromise on the issues we are passionate about. In “That's Not What They Meant!” he explores such topics as “original intent” (and why he thinks it's the wrong way to interpret the Constitution); Jefferson vs. Hamilton; the role of the Supreme Court; and state government vs. federal government. Austin himself uses proof-text quotes to show just how diverse of a spectrum the Founders' views covered. His writing primarily focuses on refuting modern right-wing writings, but only because conservatives are the ones currently using the Founders to prove that they (and only they) are true Americans. This could be one of the most important books written in recent years on the subject of Constitutional interpretation.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781616146702
Author:
Austin, Michael
Publisher:
Prometheus Books
Subject:
US History-Revolution and Constitution Era
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20120931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
253
Dimensions:
9.03 x 6.06 x 0.69 in 0.625 lb

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » General
History and Social Science » American Studies » Culture Wars
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Culture
History and Social Science » US History » Revolution and Constitution Era

That's Not What They Meant!: Reclaiming the Founding Fathers from America's Right Wing New Trade Paper
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Product details 253 pages Prometheus Books - English 9781616146702 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Austin (Reading the World), English professor at Newman University, condemns the way right-wing figures such as Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, David Barton, and Larry Schweikart use the founding fathers to promote their own politics. He addresses the issues of original intent, federal power, judicial review, and church-state relations, padding his commentary with 46 pages of founders' documents. Though Austin rightly distinguishes between the views of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and the talk-radio 'conservative fringe,' he rails against an incoherent version of America's past and the 'right wing's anti-judicial rhetoric,' ignoring the same on the left, from historian Howard Zinn to court review of health legislation. Dropping any pretense of scholarly objectivity toward the end, Austin gives a thumbs-up to facts and narratives 'to beat up our ideological opponents.' He concludes with a shout, 'Mr. Levin and Mr. Beck: I'm sick and tired of YOU putting down my country.' Austin's self-righteous disdain will appeal to readers for whom 'right wing' denotes imbecility or evil. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , Michael Austin (Wichita, KS) is the author or editor of six books, including Reading the World: Ideas That Matter. He is provost, vice president for Academic Affairs, and professor of English at Newman University.
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