The [New] New Patriotism takes the reader on a journey of American history, circumstance, and perspective. It champions a remarkable country built on liberty and democracy, as it exposes the dark truths Americans have struggled with for centuries.
Stunning events of early 2020 provide context for an American culture that has required redirection for decades. Our society is slowly abdicating liberty to the outlets promoting fear and division. Accepting a top-down cultural fix since the 1960s has piled on the bandaids without healing the wounds or rebuilding the dam, directly benefiting those in power. A cultural redirect is required from the bottom-up to empower Americans with individual responsibility to change our culture.
The [New] New Patriotism pulls back the curtain: a new American patriot is emerging to change our preconditioning, how we communicate, profile other human beings, and interact more inclusively. It addresses the silently accepted surveillance state of a culture dependent on technology but founded on liberties. It is a sobering reminder that change is constant, and history repeats itself as the world watches a communist superpower systematically repeat a history witnessed in Europe during the 1930s.
Blackburn makes an effort to be nonpartisan, and she succeeds: in one chapter, she advocates for the philosophy of “America First,” while in another she unflinchingly characterizes American history as fraught with white supremacy—two viewpoints that are positionally opposed in the current political climate. Ultimately, however, some of her ideas will limit the readership with whom the book resonates: for example, in discussing the calls for stimulus packages to help a populace economically affected by Covid-19, she recommends that millennials read Milton Friedman and revisit “the war effort of the 1940s,” when “Americans rolled up their sleeves, enlisted in the military, worked factory jobs and bought war bonds to help support the government. Not the other way around.” Without suggestions about how readers whose livelihoods have been lost should survive, let alone pitch in economically to support the government, such sentiments are unlikely to convince readers who don’t already share both her views and the economic safety that makes this idea seem feasible.
Through mixing history, anecdotes, and opinion, Blackburn skillfully combines America's past with the present cultural moment in undertones of obvious pride and devotion. She seamlessly moves from paeans to Thomas Paine into reflections on the death of George Floyd and police brutality. Fellow centrists will appreciate this rousing blueprint for reviving American patriotism for the 21st century.
Takeaway: Political junkies and patriots alike will appreciate Blackburn's blend of American history and modern social commentary.
Great for fans of: Adam Gopnik’s A Thousand Small Sanities, Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner’s What Unites Us, Amitai Etzioni's Reclaiming Patriotism.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: B
My blog explores current issues and history as an extension to my new book The [New] New Patriotism. Hopefully thought-provoking. Definitely timely.