Bye Bye, Miss American Empire
Neighborhood Patriots, Backcountry Rebels, and Their Underdog Crusades to Redraw America's Political MapBook - 2010
It's been almost a century and a half since a critical mass of Americans believed that secession was an American birthright. But breakaway movements large and small are rising up across the nation. From Vermont to Alaska, activists driven by all manner of motives want to form new states-and even new nations.
So, just what's happening out there? The American Empire is dying, says Bill Kauffman in this incisive, eye-opening investigation into modern-day secession-the next radical idea poised to enter mainstream discourse. And those rising up to topple that empire are a surprising mix of conservatives, liberals, regionalists, and independents who-from movement to movement-may share few political beliefs but who have one thing in common: a sense that our nation has grown too large, and too powerfully centralized, to stay true to its founding principles.
Bye Bye, Miss American Empire traces the historical roots of the secessionist spirit, and introduces us to the often radical, sometimes quixotic, and highly charged movements that want to decentralize and re-localize power.
During the George W. Bush administration, frustrated liberals talked secession back to within hailing distance of the margins of national debate, a place it had not occupied since 1861. Now, secessionist voices on the left and right and everywhere in between are amplifying. Writes Kauffman, "The noise is the sweet hum of revolution, of subjects learning how to be citizens, of people shaking off . . . their Wall Street and Pentagon overlords and taking charge of their lives once more."
Engaging, illuminating, even sometimes troubling, Bye Bye, Miss American Empire is a must-read for those taking the pulse of the nation.
This work provides a sympathetic survey of the varied movements for secession from the centralized state across the expanse of the American Empire, which in the author's view "has run out of money, out of even the fig leaf of moral justification, out of any international sanction beyond the specious pule of the coerced and the fraudulent." Clearly viewing the development of secessionist sentiment and activism as a welcome development heralding a more local politics opposed to "the octopus in the District of Columbia," he describes the historical roots and current politics of secessionist demands in Hawaii, Alaska, New York, California, Puerto Rico, the American South, and Vermont. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)