Reactionary Radicals

I received my copy of Bill Kauffman’s book, Look Homeward, America this weekend, and managed to get halfway through it between parties for Sebastien and a trip to the ER at Children’s Hospital (ruptured eardrum, yah!). Kauffman’s rollicking style is a pleasure to read. Kauffman sets out to examine reactionary radicals and front porch anarchists through American history, focusing his energy on folks like Eugene McCarthy, Patrick Moyihan, Dorothy Day, Grant Wood, and Wendell Berry (among others). Kauffman doesn’t shy away from imperfections, forgiving the occasional foray leftward (especially around the time of the New Deal). Kauffman isn’t out to (re-)discover a movement, or even a sensibility–he simply shares the stories of men and women who, in his opinion, embraced the community-oriented, decentralized way put forth by people like Thomas Jefferson as the vision of what American should be.

I’ll likely write a longer review when I’m through the book. I did find this morning, via Daniel Larison, that Kauffman and friends from ISI book and Reason, have a blog, Reactionary Radicals.