Monday, September 17, 2012

That's Not What They Meant!, a new book for early Americanists and anyone interested in contemporary US political rhetoric

Michael Austin, a provost and English professor at Newman University (and one of my undergrad instructors from Shepherd Univeristy), has a new book being released tomorrow. The book's title is That's Not What They Meant! Reclaiming the Founding Fathers from America's Right Wing. The book is being published through Prometheus Books for the very afforable price of $19 (the link I've provided is to the book listing on the Prometheus website).

Austin's work, which has been partially developed through his insightful, unique, and sometimes downright funny blog Founderstein, works to deconstruct the mythos of a unified set of 'Founding Fathers' for the American republic. Prompted by the casual use of the 'Founding Fathers' as a stick with which to threaten or a talisman with which to legitimate any position in contemporary US political rhetoric, Austin goes back to contemporary documents and debates of the Early Republic period and shows how diverse and messy the founding of our nation actually was--and that the mess and diversity is how things are supposed to be.

Although I haven't read the book (I have read every Founderstein post though), I would say this is going to be an important text for early Americanists (I'm looking at you, Tim Sweet and Ryan Fletcher), or anyone who follows contemporary US politics and the rhetorics of political debate.

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