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American Insurgents
A Brief History of American Anti-Imperialism
From Mark Twain to the movement against the war in Vietnam, this is the story of ordinary Americans challenging empire.
All empires spin self-serving myths, and in the US the most potent of these is that America is a force for democracy around the world. Yet there is a tradition of American anti-imperialism that exposes this misleading mythology. American Insurgents is a surprising, revelatory history of anti-imperialism in the United States since the American Revolution. It charts the movements against empire from the Indian Wars and the expansionism of the slave South to the Anti-Imperialist League of Mark Twain and Jane Addams. Seymour crafts a lively and transparent explanation of why some of these movements succeeded and others failed. The result is a vital perspective for those organizing antiwar resistance today.
Reviews
  • American Insurgents presents an indispensable history of anti-imperialist movements in the United States. . . . Seymour shatters a whole host of standard misconceptions about resistance to overseas adventures, refuting the common portrait of a US public apathetic to the crimes of its government in foreign lands. . . . The book is illuminated by the courageous and inspiring voices of US anti-imperialists, from Frederick Douglass to Muhammad Ali to current opponents of recent US wars in the Middle East.”
    —Michael Schwartz, author, War Without End

    “In these times of international rebellion, [Richard Seymour] has given us a tool with which to build a movement for a more just world, both within and beyond our borders.”
    —Camilo Mejía, author, Road to ar-Ramadi

    “In the tradition of Howard Zinn's A People’s History of the United States and Joe Allen’s Vietnam, Richard Seymour shows that US imperialism has generated significant domestic opposition rooted in grassroots movements for racial, economic, and social justice.”
    —Michael Letwin, founding member, New York City Labor Against the War and Labor for Palestine

    Praise for Liberal Defense of Murder

    “Richard Seymour’s obsessively researched, impressive first book holds its place as the most authoritative historical analysis of its kind”
    —Resurgence

    “[T]ruly impressive breadth and depth ... [providing] ... a new European perspective – and a warning – on the left’s pragmatic and ultimately shortsighted support for imperialist adventures”
    —Journal of American Studies

    “[A] powerful counter-blast against the monstrous regiment of ‘useful idiots’” who have “contributed in recent decades to the murderous mess of modern times”
    — Times of London

    “[A]n excellent antidote to the propagandists of the crisis of our times”
    —Independent on Sunday

    “[T]imely, provocative and thought-provoking”
    —Independent

    “Among those who share responsibility for the carnage and chaos in the Gulf are the useful idiots who gave the war intellectual cover and attempted to lend it a liberal imprimatur. The more belligerent they sounded the more bankrupt they became; the more strident their voice the more craven their position … Richard Seymour expertly traces their descent from humanitarian intervention to blatant Islamophobia.”
    —Gary Younge

    “Indispensable … Seymour brilliantly uncovers the pre-history and modern reality of the so-called ‘pro-war Left.”
    —China Miéville

    “[E]ssential reading”
    —New Statesman