A Renegade History of the United States (2020)

A Renegade History of the United States In this groundbreaking book noted historian Thaddeus Russell tells a new and surprising story about the origins of American freedom Rather than crediting the standard textbook icons Russell demonstr
  • Title: A Renegade History of the United States
  • Author: Thaddeus Russell
  • ISBN: -
  • Page: 400
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • In this groundbreaking book, noted historian Thaddeus Russell tells a new and surprising story about the origins of American freedom Rather than crediting the standard textbook icons, Russell demonstrates that it was those on the fringes of society whose subversive lifestyles helped legitimize the taboo and made America the land of the free In vivid portraits of renegadeIn this groundbreaking book, noted historian Thaddeus Russell tells a new and surprising story about the origins of American freedom Rather than crediting the standard textbook icons, Russell demonstrates that it was those on the fringes of society whose subversive lifestyles helped legitimize the taboo and made America the land of the free In vivid portraits of renegades and their respectable adversaries, Russell shows that the nation s history has been driven by clashes between those interested in preserving social order and those interested in pursuing their own desires insiders versus outsiders, good citizens versus bad The these accidental revolutionaries existed, resisted, and persevered, the receptive society became to change Russell brilliantly and vibrantly argues that it was history s iconoclasts who established many of our most cherished liberties Russell finds these pioneers of personal freedom in the places that usually go unexamined saloons and speakeasies, brothels and gambling halls, and even behind the Iron Curtain He introduces a fascinating array of antiheroes drunken workers who created the weekend prostitutes who set the precedent for women s liberation, including Diamond Jessie Hayman, a madam who owned her own land, used her own guns, provided her employees with clothes on the cutting edge of fashion, and gave food and shelter to the thousands left homeless by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake there are also the criminals who pioneered racial integration, unassimilated immigrants who gave us birth control, and brazen homosexuals who broke open America s sexual culture Among Russell s most controversial points is his argument that the enemies of the renegade freedoms we now hold dear are the very heroes of our history books he not only takes on traditional idols like John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Carnegie, John Rockefeller, Thomas Edison, Franklin Roosevelt, and John F Kennedy, but he also shows that some of the most famous and revered abolitionists, progressive activists, and leaders of the feminist, civil rights, and gay rights movements worked to suppress the vibrant energies of working class women, immigrants, African Americans, and the drag queens who founded Gay Liberation This is not history that can be found in textbooks it is a highly original and provocative portrayal of the American past as it has never been written before.
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    One Reply to “A Renegade History of the United States”

    1. Thaddeus Russell is not so much a historian as he is a contrarian Whatever you think you know, he disagrees That does not mean that he doesn t make some interesting points, but his thinking is so fuzzy, his examples so selective, and his statements so unsubstantiated, that it is a stretch to take this book seriously as a history.His thesis, loosely defined, is that renegades are responsible for most freedoms in the United States because whatever the law says, renegades will disregard and ignore [...]

    2. Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll, according to Thaddeus Russell, author of A Renegade History of the United States are even American than mom and apple pie Perhaps accurately to the theme of this book is Well behaved women rarely make history a quote often erroneously attributed to Marilyn Monroe but was actually said by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, a Harvard professor Which makes this a good quote to illustrate this book also because many times in history what we have been taught and believed to be t [...]

    3. In this revisionist history of personal freedom in the U.S Thaddeus Russell poses some interesting arguments about our view of history and its heroes of personal freedom Russell proposes that our Founding Fathers wanted to take away liberties that abolitionists were motivated by a desire to make slaves work harder that the women s rights movements owes most of its progress to Wild West madams and that the only way for immigrants to assimilate into American society was to give up the things that [...]

    4. Well this was quite the book It s full of interesting tidbits and highly contrarian claims, most of which are well documented Russell argues that the renegade is as responsible for modern freedoms as are any of the good founding fathers and social reformers This narrative is a strong push back against the romanticized and hagiographical narratives of both right wing and left wing historians and political thinkers I m sure that there is a good deal of truth in this portrayal as well, as America h [...]

    5. Russell s unique thesis is that bad Americans are the ones who should be our national heroes because they helped secure freedoms that we all now get to enjoy By freedom he mostly means having fun partying, not working, and enjoying nonmarital sex The enemies of fun are those who want to turn bad Americans into respectable and hardworking citizens the founding fathers, for starters, and basically white middle class Protestants The book is frustrating on a number of fronts Russell is a scholar who [...]

    6. A look at what makes America great, how the discontented, the criminal, the bad citizens changed this country Yep, Russell thinks history has expended too much time on the good people settlers, abolitionists, capitalists, suffragists, conservatives and not enough on prostitutes, pirates, gangsters, and slaves who set the stage for change.Just to warn you, it is a wee bit on the long side, but it truly only touches on bits here and there.My TakeI don t buy all of Russell s premise, but I can see [...]

    7. I first learned about A Renegade History while listening to the Michael Medved show The author was promoting his book and talked about the chapter on slavery It seemed like an interesting, revisionist take and I decided I would read it Six years later, I finally got around to it and I wish I read it earlier The basic premise of A Renegade History is that, historically, it was often unwitting scumbags or renegades who pioneered many of the freedoms we cherish today I wasn t really sure what to ex [...]

    8. An amazing book that even if you hate history will make you enjoy it In fact, if this was the kind of history we were taught in school, we might have actually fought for places in the class Warning though having read this book, you ll never again see the founding fathers , the first Americans, prostitutes before the 1900s, pirates, slaves, working people and unions, people of irish ancestry, people of african ancestry, people of italian ancestry, jewish people, organized crime, Franklin Roosevel [...]

    9. Thaddeus Russell upholds the gifts of the slackers, carousers, deviants and other residents of society s underbelly in this rollicking tour of American History that is unlike anything most of us experienced in our formal schooling on the subject This is a book I would like to put into the hands of certain people who constantly bemoan the downfall of contemporary civilization and pine for the good old days.I am an avid reader of the newsd that would be the historic news I frequent our library s w [...]

    10. First, I did enjoy the writing style However, passing this book off as nonfiction is a far stretch There is not a single reference that you can track Talk about plagiarism And this, from a guy who professes to be a History teacher He puts the n word in parenthesis as if it is a direct quote at least everything other page I think that one of his primary goals was to see exactly how many times he could write racial epithets directed at black people and get away with it What I expected was a book a [...]

    11. Bored with the usual US survey texts and want a cultural history focused account that you can argue with Here you go With the exception of the civil rights chapter, about which Russell has done some solid work of his own, it s mostly a reimagining of his U.S history comps list Sure, he plays fast and loose with examples his reliance on 70s era comparative work to draw parallels between the New Deal and European fascism is downright risible but the book s readable as hell, privileges laziness ove [...]

    12. Really revealing exploration which creates many questions for the conventionally educated We have met the enemy and it is us But read this after you have read The People s History of the United States by Howard Zinn This book gives me hope for survival against our current right wing advocates, although, reaching back into our history demonstrates a stunning sameness to the past It seems to me that so many negative comments show a fear to question authority.

    13. All of you, you think there s someone just gonna drop money on you Money they could use well, there ain t people like that There s just people like me Jayne Cobb, Firefly In A People s History of the United States, Howard Zinn delivered the hitherto untold story of the common man, the poor and oppressed, fighting nobly for equality, liberty, and justice Chumps Thaddaeus Russell s A Renegade History is a celebration of the unruly side of the common man, a tribute to those who just don t behave th [...]

    14. This is a strange book, with something to repel readers of all major political persuasions By renegades Russell means uncivilized people hedonists the irresponsible, undisciplined, and impulsive low income lovers of luxury, fashion and leisure the frivolous and lazy the over indulgers the selfish and criminal, the anti ant grasshoppers This is a popular, as opposed to scholarly, history of the USA no footnotes, few original sources , and it presents a perspective than it does an argument That p [...]

    15. A great and engrossing book on many levels However, I felt the chapter on slavery did not take nearly enough factors into consideration concerning the psychology of ex slaves and the conditions they endured I understand that the point Russell was making about how ex slaves after the war were conditioned by the government against bigamy and encouraged deeply towards the rigid moral sexual codes of the day and that they associated slavery with a freer time of sexual exploration, but I felt that no [...]

    16. Very interesting and definitely politically incorrect revisions to the American history typically taught in schools The list of renegades starts with drunkards, laggards, prostitutes, pirates, and other heroes of the American revolution No great surprises there After the civil war, the freed slaves were expected to adopt the American work ethic and work from dawn to dusk 7 days a week Many of them said they preferred slavery, which gave them freedom from responsibility Many white Americans also [...]

    17. Russell presents a hidden side of history, and puts forth the argument that we wouldn t have the society we have today, much less our sense of independence without the people that are so consistently labeled outlaw, renegade, or wear a virtual badge , by dint of who they are and how they live their lives that puts them outside of normal or nice society s boundaries Russell does a thorough decade by decade examination, starting in pre Revolutionary times, of the role that people, classes of peopl [...]

    18. This is a fascinating book and a really shocking piece of revionist history at times, but it s getting a middling review from me because it just wasn t convincing Te author consistently draws conclusions that I don t think are warranted by the evidence, does not dig very deep or think very deeply about certain conclusions and relies way too heavily on correlation and coincidence instead of providing context A couple of chapters spring instantly to mind his comparison of New Deal era politics to [...]

    19. One of the mind blowing books I ve ever read Essentially, what it does is argue that throughout US history, progress has been driven by people who would generally be viewed as degenerates not unlike how, for example, a lot of technological developments have been driven by people trying to find new ways to consume pr0n.Aside from whatever aversion one might have to reading about drunks, prostitutes and what have you positive portrayals, no less , it s likely that almost anyone would be offended [...]

    20. Though there are a few points that I question, overall this is a great look back at American history focused upon the little known nor talked about influences of the power that the renegades of our culture have had in determining the fate of the nation.I am history buff and known as the master of useless trivia, and I walked away from this read enriched with a lot of facts that I had never known The book is fascinating and is well researched and footnoted Any fan of history will love this work I [...]

    21. I m inspired to go look up some of Russell s sources, as well as researching of his subjects in depth He makes minority history into something nuanced than I d expected, and I want to know , especially about African American history Russell is white I d like to read some black history books written by African Americans Overall this book was very thought provoking, and while I was left with questions than answers, I greatly enjoyed it and want to learn .

    22. Provocative to say the least I m not sure I buy 80% of of the opinions in the book, nonetheless, it certainly makes you think about the subtle and overt influences that have and continue to shape our culture today Certainly book to open your mind, and invite you into an ongoing discussion with the author about his point of view If nothing else, it will be a book that sticks with me for a while as I see and experience different elements in our social fabric today.

    23. This book should be assigned reading for every high school student in a public school Gore Vidal once said we live in the United States of Amnesia, Thaddeus Russell s book hammers that home The mainstream historical narrative is closer to a fairytale than an accurate recounting of the why and wherefore of America s story.

    24. This books will make you constantly google things that sound like they couldn t possibly be true, only to find that the history of the United States is actually this bizarre and horrifying.

    25. Certainly guaranteed to ruffle a few feathers this contrarian look at our history argues many personal freedoms we now enjoy were mainly because of renegades These renegades include drunks, pirates, slaves, Whores, the Irish, the Italians, the Jews, gangsters, juvenile teens, etc He makes some interesting cases against popular icons which take most modern credit for freedoms as actually being anatagonists for personal freedoms in some aspects These anagonists include Puritanical mindsets, FDR, M [...]

    26. Fantastic book laying out the conflict between the fringe elements in american society and or less WASP culture Russell tends to value the former , but america would not be america without both.

    27. An excellent telling of US history Refreshing and thought provoking However, I m not convinced at all that renegades were the real cause for the freedoms US folk enjoy today, nor their value The assumption of the author is a far stretch neither the popular icons nor the general population are the cause of the liberties celebrated and often held by Americans.

    28. A Good and Interesting ReadWhile I do think at times the author is reaching to prove his thesis, there are a number of items in this book that certainly make one think After all, is that not the mark of a good read

    29. Fascinating and provocative The perfect companion to Zinn s history of the US Many who think they know American history would learn a thing or two from this retelling of American history from the renegade point of view Russell says it s only thanks to the renegades that America is what it is today Our founding fathers made our democracy into a temple worshipping work Slaves didn t buy into it once emancipated nor before their emancipation Jazz music helped give white people rhythm Elvis Presley [...]

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