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Hating America: A History Hardcover – 13 Jan 2005


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"But America... represents a special type of challenge to the world. That challenge has been recognized, feared, resented and finally hated, as Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin amply illustrate in their fascinating study: Hating America: A History."--The Washington Times"[A] wise, pungent, and (given its negative subject matter) enjoyable study."--Daniel Pipes, New York Sun"Hating America treats fairly, and exhaustively, an issue that will challenge America for years at home and abroad."--Charlotte Observer"A multifaceted national portrait.... This book provides entertaining glimpses of a nation that may have invented public relations to combat its own image problem."--Publishers Weekly"In this comprehensive and compelling yet disturbing analysis, Barry and Judith Colp Rubin, authors of a superb biography last year on Yasser Arafat, delve deep into American history to uncover the roots of an omnipresent global phenomenon."--Miami Herald

About the Author

Director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs, Barry Rubin is the author of numerous books, including The Tragedy of the Middle East. Judith Colp Rubin is an independent journalist who has covered the Middle East extensively. Together they co-edited Anti-American Terrorism and the Middle East and, most recently, co-authored a widely acclaimed political biography of Yasir Arafat.

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America was a land before it was a society or country: a strange and mysterious place, virtually the first entirely new territory Europe discovered since starting its own modern civilization. Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 8 reviews
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
The chronicle of a timeless obsession 7 Jan. 2005
By N. Tsafos - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It was the humorist Art Buchwald who captured, in 1957, the American predicament; following a survey on what made people dislike America, he concluded: "If Americans would stop spending money, talking loudly in public places, telling the British who won the war, adopt a pro-colonial policy, back future British expeditions to Suez, stop taking oil out of the Middle East, stop chewing gum, ... move their bases out of England, settle the desegregation problem in the South ... put the American woman in her proper place, and not export Rock n' Roll, and speak correct English, the tension between the two countries might ease."

Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin have written an excellent book on what appears to be a timeless obsession -- hating America. What emerges most strongly from their narrative is not only how constant the hatred for America has been, but rather how adaptive -- tailored on an America that was emerging and marginal, to growing and influential, to powerful and omnipresent. This mutating anti-Americanism, always new and always old, has been passed down from the birth of the republic to the present day.

The early forms of anti-Americanism, the Rubins write, revolved around the European belief that the North American habitat was unwelcoming to civilization, producing inferior animals and inferior humans. While this took time to recede, the anti-American tide soon took issue with American manners, intellect, and social organization. Only in the twentieth century can there be a trace of hating America for what it does, rather than what it is; and even then, it is never fully convincing.

The themes that emerge most strongly from the book is how Europeans we born with a fear of America -- a fear that its democratic politics would infest their continent, a fear that its dynamic society would pose an alternative to their own, a fear that their people who be magnetized to the American sociopolitical and economic model at the expense of the European one.

If fear is one word that comes to mind when reading this book, impossibility is another -- the impossibility of Americans being loved. Much of the anti-American sentiment in France and the Soviet Union was hardly affected by America's assistance to those countries in World War II. America has been dubbed as infidel and fundamentalist, isolationist and omnipotent, naïvely optimistic and crudely calculating. Time and again, America has been charged with things it did not do or for things that others were more guilty of. Why has there been no enduring anti-Britishism, anti-Frenchism, anti-Russianism, or anti-Germanism?

The answer to this question lies as much with the nature of the American experiment and the character of its society as with anything America does in the world. What people dislike about America is what is good about it, rather than what is bad: its optimism, dynamism, practicality, diversity, tolerance. If this is so, then the American hopes for reversing this age-old obsession seem futile. For however the intensity of anti-Americanism in some places varies with American actions, its underlying appeal is timeless -- the product of political forces who fear America, what it stands for, and what it might mean for them.
25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
A History that Doesn't Bode Well for the Future. 21 Sept. 2004
By John Matlock - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Americans want to be loved. We know that we are nice people, and we are puzzled when we watch TV and see obvious evidence that there are people out there that don't like us. Until this book came along, what I had not recognized was how long this had been going on (1600's). Nor had I realized how much official Government policy in many countries, often as an excuse to cover up their own problems, is anti-American.

Much of the book covers the religious aspects. In Europe America is seen as a conservative religious fanatical society. In the Islamic countries as a heathen Great Satan out to wipe out Islam. It kind of makes you wonder just why so many people seem to be willing to go to almost any extreme to come to the United States.

This is a very thought provoking book, well resourced, well documented.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The history of hatred of America 29 Feb. 2012
By Shalom Freedman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Long before it was a country the land of America itself was hated. The Rubins begin their survey with an account of the European dislike of and resentment of the barbaric, primitive New World. The French especially and Comte Buffon feature here in their arguing that the New World , a land without Tradition, must be a backward one. But their repulsion of the savage land seems minor in comparison to the murderous kind of America hatred displayed most recently in the world. The Sayd Kutab inspired Islamist hatred of the U.S. whose most devastating product to this point has been 9/11 is one major form of USAphobia exhibited today. But as the Rubins point out the hatred for the US has many varied causes and is often strongly related to the admiration and envy the U.S. arouses. How explain otherwise that people in lands which supposedly hate the U.S. clamor to immigrate to it?
This is a vast subject and the Rubins make a valiant effort to touch on many of the major causes for it.. The Fascist anti- Americanism was for instance bound up with their anti- Semitisim and Racism which thought a 'mixed society' must be an inferior one. The Communists made the Evil economic primarily, the greedy Capitalistic system.
Stereotypes and misperceptions abound in the hatred of America. And again Envy plays a tremendous role. Here even friends like Canada and Great Britain may be guilty.
This book is a good start at looking at the subject but it is by no means exhaustive.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Some good material about a genuine issue. 7 Jun. 2006
By Jill Malter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This powerful book characterizes hatred of America. We see some of the aspects of this hatred, including finding fault with America no matter what it does. To many anti-Americans, if we do something, we're meddlesome. If we don't, we are shirking our duty. Either way, we're arrogant, aloof, ignorant, fanatical, power-crazed, and so on.

But there is more to it than the blame that gets attributed to a caricature of the United States. There have to some reasons for anti-Americanism that have to do with America, and not with its detractors. And there are.

As we see in this book, those who defend America are often accused of praising America even when it is wrong, and acting as if we are always right. But are our specific policies and our presumed confidence in them really the reasons why those who hate America dislike us? The Rubins make a good case for there being a different primary cause.

We draw the ire of many anti-Americans simply for being ourselves and doing well. And while we Americans often criticize ourselves when we make mistakes, we do so far less frequently when we do things well. That is why we can appear to others to act as if we are right all the time: when they dislike what we do, it is often because we know we're doing something positive. As the Rubins say, quoting Bernard-Henri Levy, "...Anti-American sentiment we see today, not only in Europe but in the world at large, hates not what is bad in America but what is good ... what they hate is democracy. They hate sexual freedom and the rights of women. They hate tolerance. They hate the separation of religion and state. They hate modernity."

Obviously, one could argue that these attributes of America are not always totally positive. But they are an important constituent of a very successful society. And the Rubins point out the attraction to others, both of such a society and of the success of that society.

Some reviewers feel that anti-Americanism has to have more to do with American policies. But I feel the Rubins have made a very good case for this not being the main problem. Obviously, one can unthinkingly claim that America is always right. But our society is more than willing to look at itself. Those who always admit to American misdeeds, even when we are falsely accused, are, in my opinion, no better than those who never admit to being wrong.

I think the authors have made some excellent points, and I like the material about anti-Americanism from earlier times.

I recommend this book.
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Scholarly but engaging study 4 Jun. 2006
By Peter Uys - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This illuminating book investigates the history and nature of anti-Americanism in a scholarly but entertaining manner. It proves wrong both the argument that the policies of the USA provoke hatred and the one that claims envy of liberty and democracy as the root cause. Anti-Americanism in fact preceded the founding of the USA.

The concept is defined as containing some or all of the following: blaming the USA for all the evils of the world, huge exaggeration of the imperfections in and a false depiction of American society and distortions about US policy. These are accompanied by an irrational hatred and wild contradictions in their articulation.

Different chapters examine various historical stages of anti-Americanism, while others look at this phenomenon in specific regions like the Middle East and Latin America. A chapter is devoted to those types that are promoted by oppressive collectivist ideologies like communism and fascism.

The book provides evidence of the weird negative perceptions of the USA held by many famous European artists and intellectuals down the ages, including, Hegel, Kant, Sigmund Freud, George Bernard Shaw, French scientist the Comte de Buffon, French philosopher Voltaire and French politician Talleyrand.

At first, these European intellectuals considered the natural environment of the new world as inferior. Later they found fault with the people who were classless and had no reverence for aristocracy. The 3rd phase started when America became a powerful player on the world stage.

In the 20th century, new varieties were propagated by the totalitarian regimes of Europe. While the Cold War lasted, the phenomenon was somewhat subdued in Western Europe because of the Soviet threat, but it returned with a vengeance after the collapse of the evil empire.

The main proponents of anti-Americanism are intellectuals who see American culture as undermining their own influence or posing a challenge to their own societies. They are successful in spreading this propaganda because of their preponderance in academia and the media.

It is no coincidence that France, with its deeply entrenched anti-Semitism, also has the most prominent history of anti-Americanism. These evil notions go hand in hand as the authors point out. In essence, they are manifestations of hatred for Judeo-Christian civilization.

Other informative books on this subject include Anti-Americanism by Jean Francois Revel, Understanding Anti-Americanism by Paul Hollander, The Anti-Chomsky Reader by David Horowitz and Peter Collier, Hating America by John Gibson, Sinisterism by Bruce Walker and Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left by David Horowitz.
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