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The True Patriot
Eric Liu
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The True Patriot

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  147 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Over the course of a generation, patriotism in America has been hijacked by the right and abandoned by the left. But the principles and values of true patriotism – country above self, contribution above consumption, stewardship over exploitation, freedom with responsibility, purpose through sacrifice and service, pragmatism, a fair shot for all – are inherently progressive ...more
Published (first published January 1st 2007)
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Part of my my New American Idealism, because I'm 100% committed to the ideal of "liberty and justice for all," and the proposition that all people are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights. These ideals and principles are central to my conception of what America can and should be. I reserve the right to be critical of this country, its citizens, and its leaders when it falls short of these ideals and when it acts contrary to these principles. This is not a lack of patriotism; it is p ...more
Sep 07, 2008 Elaine rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: every registered voter in America
Recommended to Elaine by: Barnes & Noble
This was a good read. I will admit that I didn't agree 100% with everything... and there were even some big words used that I'd never seen before, so it was a little above my vocab level... LOL! But, I did enjoy the book--it was inspiring and I wish more people (politicians in particular) would give it a read and indulge in some self-reflection. You can actually read the book for free on their website: . They wrote the book as a pamphlet, so they really want to get ...more
Jun 22, 2008 Matt rated it liked it
A refreshing pamphlet, in the style of "Common Sense," that liberates the notion of Patriotism from Neo-Conservative flag-waiving and chest-thumping, and asks us to embrace a new progressive patriotism as a means for restoring America's standing in the world and renewing our commitment to the ideals upon which the nation was founded.
Dec 28, 2015 Jonathon rated it did not like it
"The True Patriot" truly sucked balls.
The idea of there being a patriotism that is progressive in making life better for all is appealing. The book sort of felt like a pep session. I read it all, because it was short and because it does point in a direction I like. I am not rating it, because I thought the writing was pretty bad even though the authors seemed to be well motivated to encourage us toward not asking what our country can do for us but what we can do for our country. I did benefit from hearing where both liberals and con ...more
Cam Stone
May 15, 2017 Cam Stone rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A most excellent pamphlet

Simply put, without guile or agenda, a call to action for all Americans, regardless of affiliation. Well worth the time to read!
May 07, 2008 Akbar rated it liked it
I liked the premise- that patriotism is love of country and concern for its well-being, so dissent shouldn't be confused for disloyalty or weakness. However, the book got a little ahead of itself with its rhetoric. It's a call to arms for progressives, so it was bound to turn me off when I disagreed with any of its positions. I gave the book credit because it addressed a problem that has pushed the progressive movement to the fringe of society, and because it got me thinking about a few issues(s ...more
Erika RS
May 29, 2012 Erika RS rated it really liked it
This slim volume -- the authors call it a pamphlet -- has as its goal to show that true patriotism is progressive, and the left has just as much claim to the term as the right.

This premise is intentionally provocative, but the content itself is reasonable and well thought out. The authors define their own view of what a progressive, morally founded patriotism would look like and, while I can quibble with the details, their vision far exceeds the milk sop that comes from the too-flexible seeming
Jun 29, 2008 Benson rated it liked it
Recommends it for: American citizens, by birth or by choice
Recommended to Benson by: My Mom, Holly C. Metcalf
The timing for reading this book is obvious, but what is not so obvious is that this book is written by a couple progressives who I don't easily identify with. I really liked the intent of the book and for the most part I thought the content was great as well. (Sometimes I think they took some shots at conservatives, but that's fine.)

Anyway, it's a quick little read (130 pages) and I think you'll appreciate the concept of the book: pull together some of the most inspiring words of America's lead
An awesome little book - booklet, really - containing a number of primary documents on what has made and what makes America great (quotes from the Declaration, Gettsburg address, Roosevelt's four freedoms, etc), thoughts on progressive patriotism, and ten principles of progressive patriotic values:
1. American exceptionalism
2. Responsibility for the common good
3. Equality of opportunity
4. Patriotic capitalism
5. Mutual obligation
6. Service to Country
7. Stewardship
8. Common sense virtue
9. Tolerance
Heather Denkmire
Sep 18, 2009 Heather Denkmire rated it it was amazing
If everyone in the country read this book, we might be able to hear each other. Though it's so clearly, openly, and honestly from the "progressive" tradition I can see the Libertarian types seizing up and not being able to process the content without resentment.

Sometimes it was "preaching to the choir," since I agreed with every word. But I think if liberals/progressives/confused people read it they'd understand how it's a powerful thing to love our country instead of feeling ashamed of us.
Ken Poirier
Jan 11, 2016 Ken Poirier rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
this manifesto might be better titled the socialist patriot. it is definitely intended to bolster the resolve of the left rather than to convince the right of a change in ideology. if anything, this book seems to be an argument against the ideas of Ayn Rand's obectivism, though references conservatism as its counter agent. As with most manifestos, it intentions and goals are good but gets too swept up in ideology to make a convincing argument.
Tyler Hill
Jan 26, 2010 Tyler Hill rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2010
A quick read, and engrossing little manifesto, though your mileage will vary depending on how much you agree with the politics and positions put forth in it. But, I'd highly recommend it for anyone who considers themselves a Progressive or Liberal (like me) who beleives that Patriotism is more than slapping an American flag on our car bumper, shouting "support the troops" while simultaniously engaging in selfish individualism.
Aug 05, 2008 Rebecca rated it really liked it
A fantastic book that really encouraged me to think about - what it is to be a patriot in our country. I have seen Eric speak and feel strongly he and the co-author do their best to tell the story of patriotism from both partisan angles. It was a quick read that left me wanting to have the conversation with others - what does patriotism mean to you?
Sep 17, 2012 Gretchen rated it it was amazing
I really "got" this book. It is an important message and update in civics for Americans of all ages and regardless of political leaning. I'd love to share a copy with every one I know. to that end, you can access it and read it free on line: - or like me, get it from your local library.
Oct 15, 2008 Jen rated it it was amazing
Great bedside book. Put it on your nightstand and just digest a little at a time. Watching the John Adams miniseries on HBO got me interested in looking back at how the founding fathers viewed the issues we are wrestling with today, and this is a great companion piece to that. Great for anyone who is looking to become a more informed citizen.
Jul 03, 2009 Matt rated it liked it
A doctrine or manifesto on patriotism, this pamphlet lays out a case for progressives to take back the mantle of patriotism that conservatives have owned for the past 40 years, and may explain to some degree why Obama is so appealing beyond the liberal democratic base.
Kind of disappointing. I agree with all the points the authors make, but there's no new ground being explored here; Nat Hentoff was writing about these issues a generation ago, and this slender (heavily padded, but still slender) volume is pretty much Mom-and-apple-pie stuff.
Sep 14, 2008 Chuck rated it it was amazing
Useful good read about how progressives should and can take back the issue of patriotism (sadly, the Valerie Plame case on its own wasn't enought)and use it to win. Also available here: The rue Patriot
May 10, 2012 Beverly rated it it was amazing
This is a very small and susccint and insightful pamplet ne book to offer another suggestion for true citizenry. The writers are both Progressives however they are pragmatist first and foremost. A quick read with some very powerful but simple ideas.
Sep 06, 2014 Jim rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read this book.
Patrick Bair
Apr 16, 2013 Patrick Bair rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Everyone should read. One of two Liu books I gift to my favorite young people.
John Willis
Apr 02, 2016 John Willis rated it really liked it
Easy read, but some very thought provoking ideas.
Aug 25, 2008 Jodi rated it really liked it
Great pieces of wisdom, loved the slant of the two authors, appreciated their quest for real patriotism, and liked what they came up for their moral code. Highly recommend.
Jj Gufreda
Mar 05, 2013 Jj Gufreda rated it it was amazing
Really good book for anyone frustrated by the current American political environment. Intelligent and reasonable.
Terry Brown
Inspiring little book on "true patriotism," which is "inherently progressive" and is not the same as jingoism. The writers present a manifesto for our times.
Nov 21, 2008 Phil rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read this little book. Like Thomas Paine, his intellectual and spiritual predecessor, this book seeks to enliven the debate about what it means to be an American.
Sara Sheehy
Sep 23, 2012 Sara Sheehy rated it liked it
I enjoyed the historic speeches and writings the most.
Jul 27, 2008 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this should be required reading before anyone is allowed to vote in the current election. everyone on my christmas list will be getting a copy. love reading and rereading it.
Kori Haarz
Kori Haarz rated it really liked it
Jul 13, 2014
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“America today is in danger of drifting from its best traditions. We have allowed false prophets of selfishness to obscure our vision. We have grown numb to a creeping cynicism about progress and public life. We crave human connection yet hide behind walls. We worship the money chase yet decry the toll it exacts on us. We allow the market to dominate our lives, relationships, yearnings and aspirations. We indulge in nostalgia and irony and addictive entertainment, then purge from our hearts any true idealism or passion, any notion that being American should mean something more than "everyday low prices" or "every man for himself." In the midst of this dislocation and disorientation, so many Americans today yearn for higher purpose, for calling--for some assurance that life matters. We wish to believe there is more to our days than is revealed on our screens. Make no mistake: this is a spiritual crisis.” 0 likes
“We are particularly frustrated that so much of our politics today consists of lines first written during the clashes, domestic and foreign, of the 1960s. This "Groundhog Day" approach to replaying the culture war's tropes is perhaps nowhere in greater evidence than in how Americans talk about patriotism. Patriotism, as an idea, has been co-opted over the course of a generation by right-wingers who use the flag not as a symbol of transcendent national unity, but as a sectarian cudgel against the hippies, Francophiles, free-lovers and tree-huggers who constitute their caricature of the American left. The American left, for its part, has been so beaten down by this star-spangled caricature that it has largely ceded the very notion of patriotism to the right. As a result, the first reaction of far too many progressives to any talk of patriotism is automatic, allergic recoil. Needless to say, this reaction simply tightens the screws of the right's imprisoning caricature.” 0 likes
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