Reviews

What They Say–Well, What Some of Them Say–About Bill Kauffman’s Writings:

“Inspiriting and restorative”—Edward Abbey

“Kauffman and I are the original patriots”—Gore Vidal

“I’ve admired Bill Kauffman’s books for years…appealing, elegantly written, and entirely American.”—Howard Frank Mosher

“His writing is…prickly yet rambunctious, traditionalist yet gonzo, ornery yet exuberant. He generally works as an up-to-date journalist, but his books are ambitious in a pre-modernist literary way. Temperamentally drawn to the small-scale and the personal, he’s also unstoppably outgoing, rowdy, and exuberant. He’s an upbeat pessimist, both a nostalgist and a punk rocker. But encountering his work isn’t just to be swept away on energy and brains, it’s also to discover a fresh, unexpected, and fully-developed vision…None of Kauffman’s books are straightforward affairs. You’d be frustrated if you turned to them for clearly-laid-out arguments or encyclopedia-style information. Instead, they’re fullblown reading experiences: part history, part personal essay. They’re also big, heraldic, all-over-the-place prose poems—patchwork, Whitmanesque, “barbaric yawps” set to driving rock, country, and blues beats. They’re florid and funky, perverse yet open, bristling with deeply-felt exhortations and eccentric digressions, and full of comic but heart-busting rhapsodies. To the extent that I’d want to categorize his work at all, I’d put it on the same rhapsodic/eccentric, full-of-contradictions-but-that’s-the-point shelf as Edward Abbey, Henry David Thoreau, and H.L. Mencken.”—Ray Sawhill

“In a series of books, Bill Kauffman has outlined a defense of regionalism that is very much in [Russell] Kirk’s spirit….His lyrical prose elevates half-forgotten episodes and figures in American history and weaves them into a compelling countercultural story that includes Dorothy Day, Norman Mailer, Henry Clune, Calvin Coolidge, and others.”—Gerald J. Russello

“Kauffman has made an admirable career of celebrating unsung heroes and lost causes. His books include melancholy reflections on the disappearance of small-town life (Dispatches from the Muckdog Gazette); a profound study of America’s localist writers, artists, and thinkers (Look Homeward, America); brilliant accounts of American non-interventionism and antiwar conservatism (America First! and Ain’t My America); and a wonderfully eccentric biography of Luther Martin, the cantankerous anti-Federalist (Forgotten Founder, Drunken Prophet). The last makes clear that Kauffman knows his Founders as well as any scholar on the subject.”—Thomas De Pietro

“Generous in spirit”–Christopher Hitchens

“Bill Kauffman resembles not in the least the stereotypical Don Quixote of popular reference, but he is very like that good knight as Unamuno understood him: less the Knight of the Doleful Countenance than the Knight of the Great Heart, the champion not of literary chivalry but rather of the thing itself, of Heart that refuses to be seduced by Mind.”—Chilton Williamson Jr.

About Poetry Night at the Ballpark and Other Scenes from an Alternative America (Front Porch/2015)

Although certainly no evangelical, and perhaps not familiar with the unique Christian political philosophy advanced by CPJ, Bill Kauffman is a writer of such verbal dexterity, American gusto, and surprisingly non-partisan panache that anyone interested in contemporary civic life should know his work. This anthology is a perfect way to enjoy this writer, offering 400 pages of short but well-informed essays, from book and film reviews, sports reporting, historical pieces, and political op-ed tirades.

I know of no polemicist who is more enjoyable to read; his prodigious vocabulary is full of smart whimsy and local color. Kauffman is an independent localist, a populist so fiercely in love with his region and land that he’s passionately anti-imperial. Is there such a thing as a conservative pacifist? Could there be a politico who combines the spiritual sense of place of Wendell Berry and the anti-war/anti-modernist passion of Daniel Berrigan, along with a profound appreciation for old-school Republicanism?

Kauffman’s love for local little league is evident, as is his appreciation for both the punk rock of his era and his love for middle American, old-school country outlaws like Merle Haggard. The pop culture references fly as fast as the obscure historical ones. His 2010 short review of the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird is a delight, and his cleverness shows in the title of a piece on Edmund Wilson, “Wilson’s Picket,” a fascinating look at not only Wilson’s Civil War opus, but his friendship with Robert Penn Warren and the disapproval of Arthur Schlesinger.

Poetry Night at the Ballpark is a rare and extraordinary anthology, sure to delight those who love history, politics, and popular culture, and those who enjoy creative, high-octane writing that mocks standard-fare politics in favor of a front porch, ballpark, small town patriotism.
–Byron Borger, Center for Public Justice

Over 400 pages of short columns, book reviews, essays and previously published pieces, Poetry Night at the Ballpark is extraordinary [with] an independent streak that may seem perplexing to those only used to the standard, predictable opinions of MSNBC or Fox News. — Hearts and Minds

It is hard to imagine today’s writing economy producing Kauffman’s equal, as our institutions simply lack the resources required to sustain writers like Kauffman—regular columnists who have enormous editorial freedom and whose learning is as broad as the mandate from their editor. As such, we would all do well to learn not only from Kauffman’s specific thoughts and ideas, but from the broader example he has set as a man of letters possessing the wisdom and learning needed to speak intelligently on a remarkable range of topics and subjects.
–Jake Meador, University Bookman

About Copperhead (Dzanc/2013)

“[W]ell researched, intellectually admirable, and beautifully photographed . . . Based on the novel by 19th-century historian Harold Frederic, Copperhead has a screenplay by Bill Kauffman that resonates with astounding facts and observations.”–Rex Reed, New York Observer

“a smart, thoughtful screenplay by Bill Kauffman”– Christopher Schobert, The Playlist

“This is a movie with a script that is for a change equal to the complicated politics of the dangerous moment it explores.”– Paul Buhle and Dave Wagner, Swans Commentary

ABOUT Bye Bye, Miss American Empire: Neighborhood Patriots, Backcountry Rebels, and their Underdog Crusades to Redraw America’s Political Map (Chelsea Green/2010)

“History doesn’t stand still, no matter how many times you sing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’ Bill Kauffman brings an antic verve to the sobering question of America’s ability to hang together as one nation. He correctly perceives that the end of one story is the beginning of a whole new one.” –James Howard Kunstler

“beautiful little homage to those he believes are our nation’s truest patriots…Kauffman’s book must be viewed as one of the most original and incisive recent challenges to the establishment ideological camps within American politics.”—Ryan R. Holston, Studies in American Culture

“As a political essayist, Bill Kauffman ranks right up there with Dwight Macdonald and Gore Vidal. I can see why Vidal is an admirer.”—Jeff Taylor, frontporchrepublic.com

“I had my doubts whether…Kauffman could pull it off with his latest…The topic, I thought, might be too narrow compared to the previous works of his I’d read. I was wrong. This is perhaps his best book to date.”—The Western Confucian

“Bill Kauffman…brings to bear all his talents—his historical smarts, his journalistic acumen, his muscular prose—upon his bracing argument for a perennial idea: secession….In this punchy and inspirational book, Kauffman proves himself once again a writer fully in the patriotic grain, an American original.”—Thomas De Pietro, The American Conservative

“Kauffman is a staunch advocate of local government and minimal federal involvement and that stance colors all he writes, but he’s also intelligent and extremely funny; even people who disagree with his politics will embrace his voice, and history and political science enthusiasts will find this thought-provoking and intensely enjoyable.”—Publishers Weekly

“Bye Bye, Miss American Empire is an appealing, elegantly written, and entirely American book.”—Howard Frank Mosher

“Kauffman’s exploration in political heresy is an amiable, vocabulary-bending jeremiad that exalts the local over the global, extols the two-lane road over the interstate highway, and simply defies a Left-Right dichotomy.”—Gilbert Taylor, Booklist

More about Bye, Bye Miss American Empire, by Bill Kauffman

ABOUT Forgotten Founder, Drunken Prophet: The Life of Luther Martin (ISI/2008)

“Vintage Kauffman. A witty, interesting, well researched, highly informative, lively, and balanced account of Luther Martin’s career. Kauffman’s underlying message is provocative, even iconoclastic. Despite all his failings, Martin was foremost among those who perceived that the Philadelphia Constitution contained the seeds for the growth of a gigantic, intrusive, and highly centralized government destined to threaten the liberties of ordinary citizens—a message we would do well to ponder today.”—George W. Carey

“In unsparing detail, Bill Kauffman illuminates the greatest ‘what if’ in American history—the ‘what if’ upon which all others depend. What if the Articles of Confederation had not been superseded by the Constitution? Mired as we are in the received wisdom of Panglossian constitutionalism, a secular religion unto itself, Kauffman’s book makes for bracing and often humorous reading, the kind that demands the reader to think, unthink, and rethink again.”—Ron Maxwell

“Bill Kauffman is America’s staunchest and liveliest local patriot. Here he tells the story of a Founding Father, Luther Martin, who was right about the dangerously expansionist government that the Constitution might allow. For being right, Martin has been vilified and forgotten. But Kauffman, with a fine writerly eye that captures entire the intellectual scene of the debate over the Constitution, assesses Martin’s virtues and flaws evenly, and twinkles all the while. He helps us understand a classic American Anti-Federalist tradition worth remembering, and reviving.”—Brian Doherty

“Brimming with his signature wit and love of language, Kauffman’s Forgotten Founder, Drunken Prophet guarantees that one of history’s notable ‘losers’ finally gets the hearing he deserves. Martin’s alternative America—a lost world of the local, the small, and the modest—has found a courageous and able champion.”—Richard Gamble

“While the trials and tribulations of the Republic’s most eccentric anti-Federalist are well within Kauffman’s purview, this is his first book-length biography, something that could make even the most adoring fans skeptical. But if you enter a skeptic, you’ll leave a firm believer in Kauffman’s versatility. Maintaining the usual wit of his previous offerings, Kauffman treats us to a barrage of quips and insights we’ve come to expect from the folksy patriot of Batavia, New York, all the while keeping an eye on the seriousness of the project at hand. . . . No doubt a book like this is a tall order. . . . And yet Kauffman succeeds as he so often does, hurdling the mountainous myths of history with ease, and painting a sympathetic portrait of a cause lost, but now at last, not forgotten.”— Dylan Hales, Charleston City Paper

“Kauffman’s latest offering Forgotten Founder, Drunken Prophet: The Life of Luther Martin proves not only his mettle as a formidable researcher and archivist, but foreground his relentless awareness of the hermeneutical dimension of history. Without sacrificing cogency and maintaining a consistently cool voice, Kauffman plumbs history in its diffuseness to round out historical models. . . . Kauffman never thinks he is revising an inappropriate history, but rather sees himself as extending our current knowledge of the Constitutional Congress and the subsequent 18th century. Never the explicit apologist, Kauffman delicately and humorously weaves a more complete portrait of Martin. . . . [I]t becomes apparent that Kauffman is not just writing a story about a forgotten founder, he is writing a story about Anti-Federalism and the nature of history at large.”— Erik Hinton, PopMatters

“Kauffman doesn’t flinch in offering this judgment. His aim is to rehabilitate Martin, not to prettify him. One of his most impressive feats is to make his subject sympathetic even after relating the ugliest moments of Martin’s life. . . . Kauffman…is today one of [Anti-Federalism’s] most eloquent modern spokesmen…By letting us into the mind of one flawed, fascinating, and ultimately tragic figure, Kauffman has not just reminded us that Luther Martin of Maryland deserves a place beside the other giants of the founding generation. He has made a compelling case for a disreputable but worthy movement, for the men so committed to what we now call constitutional principles that they refused to accept the Constitution itself.”— Jesse Walker, The American Conservative

“It figures that local patriot Kauffman is skeptical about the Constitution… Kauffman, the liveliest conservative wit of our time, tells Martin’s story with great relish and principled rue for federalism lost.”— Ray Olson, Booklist

“The Anti-Federalists are often seen as parochial, self-interested dimwits obstructing an epochal achievement. With Forgotten Founder, Drunken Prophet, Bill Kauffman launches a full assault on this caricature. . . .a major theme of his book is that men, not all-wise demigods, wrangled over America’s future in the summer of 1787, and he is delightfully enthusiastic in his iconoclasm. (Particularly amusing is his openly malicious treatment of Madison and Hamilton.)… This playfully written, highly entertaining book will probably not inspire a new constitutional convention, but, if it convinces some readers that critical and unsentimental examination of the nation’s founding need not be unpatriotic, it will have performed a valuable service.”— Stefan McDaniel, First Things

“In Forgotten Founder, Drunken Prophet, a short and engaging biography of Luther Martin (1748-1826), Bill Kauffman shows us a sot, a quarrelsome bore, a butcher of the English language, an outspoken abolitionist who himself owned slaves—and a man who advanced opinions at the Constitutional Convention that desperately needed to be heard. . . . Mr. Kauffman tells this harrowing tale with a proper recognition of its farcical elements. He is a rollicksome stylist. . . . But throughout Mr. Kauffman shows a sympathetic regard for his subject. An appreciation of Luther Martin is perhaps overdue; a respect for the Anti-Federalists certainly is. Both ends are well served by this entertaining and instructive work.”— Alan Pell Crawford, The Wall Street Journal

“For a political junkie, the collected works of Bill Kauffman are the gateway drug to all things off limits. Emphasizing the ‘character’ in ‘character sketch,’ the typical offering from Kauffman is filled with witticisms and quirks of history ignored or discarded by ‘consensus historians.’…Kauffman’s fight has always been for decentralized power, community control, and individual liberty.”—Dylan Hales, Young American Revolution

More about Forgotten Founder, Drunken Prophet, by Bill Kauffman.

ABOUT Ain’t My America: The Long, Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism and Middle-American Anti-Imperialism (Henry Holt/Metropolitan/2008)

“For those who have been neoconned into believing that conservatism means unquestioned support for the warfare state, Ain’t My America is the perfect way to show that real conservatives defend peace and liberty.”—Ron Paul

“Here begins the effort to restore a principled conservatism after the havoc wreaked by George W. Bush. Bill Kauffman is a terrific writer and Ain’t My America is a terrific—and essential—book.”—Andrew J. Bacevich

“You don’t have to be a liberal, a progressive, or a socialist to oppose war and imperialism. Bill Kauffman’s Ain’t My America is a must-read for those free marketers, right wingers, and conservatives who want to live in peace with the world. Regardless of your politics, if you are against wars of aggression and would like to try something other than bombing our way out of our problems, you will profit from this lively book.”—Nicholas von Hoffman

“This is my kind of book: historically grounded, fiercely honest, and wonderfully expressed, one of the best I’ve read in years. Bill Kauffman is a conservative of the highest order, unlike the false brand now conducting our national affairs.”—George McGovern

“witty, informative, humorous, and irreverent…His style, however, in no way detracts from the central themes of his book that concern matters of profoundest import…could even serve as required reading at both the high school and college levels in those courses dealing with America’s role in the world…Kauffman deserves great praise.”—George W. Carey, Modern Age

“It’s a funny, bracing book that falls outside of conventional political thinking, but in direct line with those consummate foes of empire—the founding fathers.”—Thomas De Pietro, Barnes & Noble Review

“A subtle and deliberate intellectual, Kauffman is not only a critic of American statism and its attendant foreign interventionism, a talented journalist, and an accurate historian, but also a gifted writer…he is also the most amusing political-historical-cultural writer pounding the keyboard in America today…Ain’t My America is the most important book on American history and politics published this year.”—Robert Cheeks, Internet Review of Books

“a super-entertaining, very well-researched, and enormously enlightening history.”—Jeffrey A. Tucker, LewRockwell.com

“Kauffman is…the St. Jude of journalism, the patron saint of lost causes.”—W. James Antle III, Reason

“Ain’t My America is deeply moving.”—Doug Bandow, Antiwar.com

“Bill Kauffman writes prose—history, novels, journalism—but he is a poet and a prophet.”—Daniel McCarthy, The American Conservative

“if I were looking to transform a neoconservative into a normal human being, Ain’t My America would be one of the first books I’d hand him in my proselytizing mission.”–Thomas E. Woods Jr., Takimag.com

“Flexing his vocabulary to the max, scattering sarcastic asides like confetti, and upholding the banner of home and family, Kauffman’s new essay in American historical archaeology is, like its predecessors, an eye-opening delight.”—Ray Olson, Booklist

More about Ain’t My America: The Long, Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism and Middle-American Anti-Imperialism, By Bill Kauffman

ABOUT Look Homeward, America: In Search of Reactionary Radicals and Front-Porch Anarchists (ISI/2006)

Editors’ Choice Award, American Library Association, for “these smart, frequently funny forays down American byways.”

“It’s un-put-down-able, probably the best read I’ve had since The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot by the great Russell Kirk.”—The Western Confucian

“Kauffman is…a supremely gifted writer who…conjures up some of the funniest and most erudite copy on either side of the Atlantic.”—Robert Cheeks, California Literary Review “Bill Kauffman is the finest literary stylist writing within the broad twenty-first-century conservative dispensation and among the keenest minds in contemporary American letters. Sometimes an agrarian libertarian, on other occasions a populist or a ‘peace-and-love’ paleoconservative, Kauffman defies the standard categories. Above all, he is—like Russell Kirk—a localist, rooted in his beloved (if not always lovely) Batavia, New York, region. Look Homeward, America celebrates the ‘insubordinate Americans’ who cherish their families, their neighborhoods, and their liberties and who distrust the cant pouring out of Washington, D.C. With felicitous ease, the volume moves from side-splitting humor to profound insight to wise prescription. In its grand affirmation of the true American spirit, Look Homeward, America will challenge, dazzle, and delight the reader.”—Allan Carlson

“Bill Kauffman is one of America’s funniest and wisest writers. Not only can he make anarchism seem lovable, he forces you to reassess everything you believe about American politics and culture. He might even make you change your life. Look Homeward, America is a book whose thesis I completely disagree with—and I loved every page of it. To read Bill Kauffman is like arguing with your best and smartest friend.”—Tom Bissell

“Bill Kauffman is an impeccably honest, witty, insightful observer of American politics and culture who is committed to that which is small, local, and nonviolent. Although he has been characterized as a populist, an agrarian libertarian, and a paleo conservative, Kauffman is above all his own man. With many political writers you can figure out who the good guys are and who the bad guys are just by looking at the title of the piece. Not so with Kauffman. You’ve got to read the entire piece.”—Thomas Naylor, Vermont Commons

“There may have been better books than Look Homeward, America: In Search of Reactionary Radicals and Front-Porch Anarchists, published in 2006, but I didn’t read them. In Look Homeward, Kauffman celebrates those uniquely American radicals who make this the country what it is, and does it with humor, grace and keen perception…Whatever your ideology, Bill Kauffman’s words will touch your soul and make you long for his America.”— Doug French, LewRockwell.com

More about

“Kauffman is an exuberant guide on this joyous head-trip across the country roads of American politics and culture, and along the way everything you thought you knew about what it means to be a patriot, a conservative, or a Christian will be turned upside-down and inside-out. And as with travel on a country lane, the ride is slow, the details are savored, the conversation is a delight, and the destination is not the fruitless, rootless, nowhereness of the freeway (“I’m outta here!”), but instead the welcome embrace of a large front porch and a place called home.”–Caleb Stegall, The Intercollegiate Review

“There is scarcely a page without a startling phrase, an ‘aha!’ moment, or a good laugh (or, I am embarrassed to report, an unfamiliar word.)…But far beyond the stinging zingers, this is a book of uncommon wisdom, delighting in what is best in the sometimes eccentric American tradition. I can honestly say that this book has inspired me more than any in recent memory…this book is to be received with gratitude, a gift if not from On High, at least from Batavia, New York, which if I am not mistaken is not far from Bedford Falls.”—Daniel Nichols, Caelum et Terra

“lively, literate, and thought-provoking ramble through the woodland paths and flower strewn dales of the Old Republic.”—John McClaughry, Reason

“Kauffman’s marvelous trick of praising to the skies and then noting shortcomings and even vices increases the fascination of his remarks on such defenders of ‘family, community, [and] local self-rule’ as Wendell Berry, Grant Wood, Carolyn Chute, Millard Fillmore…More marvelous is that Kauffman, who freely injects himself into his prose, treats himself the same way; he vaunts his stance on something and then acknowledges his contradictions on the same matter. If figures he considers overrated don’t get the same treatment, well, that helps keep things snappy. His writing persona couldn’t be more appealing.”—Ray Olson, Booklist

“Kauffman combines an acerbic wit with an encyclopedic knowledge of ignored American characters to create enchanting allusions and flat-out rants that may remind readers of comedian Dennis Miller. The crucial difference being that unlike Miller, Kauffman has a point.”–Dr. Jason R. Edwards, The Center for Vision and Values at Grove City College

“This particular cynical idealist (or should that be idealistic cynic?) is the real deal when it comes to actually living the small-town life and celebrating its many virtues. As such, he is also an American treasure—a more than occasionally maddening treasure, but a treasure nonetheless.”— John C. Chalberg, Crisis

“tonic for a soul weary of the philistine populism and straitjacketed know-nothingness that dominates mainstream conservatism today. If you are the kind of conservative who despairs over the chain-store, geography-of-nowhere, slob-in-the-grey-velour-sweatsuit consumerist crapulence that is devouring the American cultural landscape like kudzu—well, Bill Kauffman is your man.”— Rod Dreher, The American Conservative

“a must-read for everyone seeking a deeper understanding of the American tradition, but especially for conservatives.”—University Bookman

“Bill Kauffman may be this country’s most dependably amusing critic of contemporary political culture…In this celebration of what Kauffman calls America’s ‘traditionalist rebels,’ passages of considerable eloquence are all the more arresting precisely because they appear in a work otherwise characterized by such unrestrained jollity.”— Alan Pell Crawford, Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Bill Kauffman is a writer who defies categorization, which is only appropriate because people who defy categorization happens to be his favorite subject: his latest book, Look Homeward, America… illustrates how the tired old labels of ‘left’ and ‘right’ no longer seem to apply.”— Justin Raimondo, Antiwar.com

“[T]his book has a Whitmanesque quality about it: it is a song to liberty, truth, goodness, and beauty, to family and community, to hearth and home, to farm and small town. It’s a call to those of similar principles to keep on keeping on, and bring America home again.”–Geoffrey Gneuhs, The Catholic Worker

More about Look Homeward America: In Search of Reactionary Radicals, by Bill Kauffman

ABOUT Dispatches from the Muckdog Gazette (Henry Holt/2003; ppb. Picador/2004)

“A small masterpiece…Kauffman is at his most illuminating when he bears witness to the ‘progressives’’ wreckage of [Batavia], the razing of its beautiful houses, the cutting down of ancient trees in order to create a vast mall that promptly fails. Kauffman is a romantic reactionary, a writer with an odd, energetic optimism”—Gore Vidal

“Bill Kauffman is the poet laureate of the decaying small town, and his book is a sharp reminder to us all how much we lose when CVS replaces the local drugstore or when McDonald’s replaces the local diner…A joy to read”—Michael Korda

“Books about small-town America are usually a mixture of heartwarming treacle, homespun balderdash, and old-fashioned hooey. Not this one. Kauffman writes with both honesty and affection about his hometown, sometimes praising it, sometimes giving it hell, sometimes gasping in disbelief at the stunts his knuckleheaded neighbors pull off. At long last, Batavia, N.Y. has its Garrison Keillor.”—Joe Queenan

“May this rude, snarly, tender, and fiercely loyal volume be the first in a raging new category of work called home lit”—Carolyn Chute

“God bless Bill Kauffman and Batavia, New York, for not adding up and falling into line. In a culture of rote political idiocy, this witty, learned author and his beleaguered hometown have managed to keep themselves crosshatched, crotchety, and—to some embattled extent—free. Oh, for this place where the artists can be Republicans and the right-to-lifers Democrats! Kauffman thinks and feels as a man fully awake; he writes like a dream.”—Thomas Mallon

“A great book…bereft of nostalgia yet defiant in its ‘placeism.’”—Robert Westbrook, Raritan

“In extolling Batavian particularities, Kauffman combines acidic denunciation of civic shortsightedness with affection for the town. This technique has an entrancing effect: the skein of town society, from the habitués of the cafes to the local congressman, unwinds a panoramic civic fabric one can’t resist.”—Gilbert Taylor, Booklist

“terrific humor…Readers will laugh out loud at descriptions of Kauffman’s 20th high school reunion and prickly, proud townies.”—Publishers Weekly

“a wryly affectionate account of returning to small-town America. Kauffman is too intelligent and perceptive to be a starry-eyed civic booster, but in these richly allusive dispatches he makes a strong case for staying home…Politically incorrect, always honest, and buoyantly upbeat; joyous celebration of place.”—Kirkus Reviews

“pitch-perfect prose.”—Molly Browne, The Washingtonian

“Funny, unrepentant, and often poignant.”—Arizona Daily Star

“touching and insightful…illuminating and poignant”—Anthony Violanti, Buffalo News

“The disintegration of small-town America in the Big Box Globaloney onslaught of recent years is a silent slow-motion tragedy that Bill Kauffman writes about with keen insight, wit, and affection.”—James Howard Kunstler

“There is myth and poetry in this refreshing look at a town…Kauffman is one of the most original journalistic voices in America today”—Alan Pell Crawford, Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Wry accounts of small town life…are blended in with a sharp critique of how so-called progress messes up perfectly nice places like Batavia.”—Jay Walljasper, Utne Reader, “A Few of Our Favorite Books”

“Kauffman…stir[s] up a longing for a hometown of one’s own.”—Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times

More about Dispatches from the Muckdog Gazette: A Mostly Affectionate Account of a Small Town’s Fight to Survive, by Bill Kauffman

ABOUT With Good Intentions? Reflections on the Myth of Progress in America (Praeger/1998)

“Kauffman has tackled a very large subject…not the rationale behind or consequence of this or that reform but the entire myth of progress in America. He has tackled this subject head on and with a flair that befits a superb essayist.”—John C. Chalberg, Crisis

“riveting, amusingly vituperative…even piquantly ribald.”—Ray Olson, Booklist

More about With Good Intentions?: Reflections on the Myth of Progress in America, by Bill Kauffman

ABOUT America First! Its History, Culture, and Politics (Prometheus/1995)

“Kauffman…gives anyone interested in American political history some of the most enjoyable and fascinating reading they’ll probably find all year…a novelist with a flair for the dazzling epithet…If you read only one political history book this year, here it is.”—Ray Olson, Booklist

“Bill Kauffman, the sage of Batavia, has…completely turned inside out the tedious liberal versus conservative debate…Let us hope that Kauffman’s ideas start to penetrate.”—Gore Vidal (from his Foreword)

“An enjoyable portrait of the ‘Little Americans.’…deft portraits . . . alternating tone of wicked hilarity and sweet sorrow.”–Foreign Affairs

“Novel and important . . . often perceptive and nearly always provocative.” — Benjamin Schwarz, World Policy Journal

“Kauffman is an engaging and often amusing writer.” — Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Washington Monthly

“a great book. Kauffman is an excellent writer. His essays are brimming with fascinating anecdotes and silly but hilarious gossip.”—Michael Levine, Liberty

More about America First, By Bill Kauffman

ABOUT Country Towns of New York (Country Roads Press/1994; McGraw-Hill/1999)

“Bill Kauffman views upstate New York through clear eyes and writes about it honestly. It’s pleasant reading and entertaining as well.”—Walter D. Edmonds

“it is no ordinary guide-book because Bill Kauffman (author of Every Man a King) treats these places with a novelist’s eye, a historian’s knowledge of the applicable past, and a writer’s mastery of portraiture in prose…the genius of this work is in the purity of Kauffman’s appreciation of all things relating to upstate New York—even those things he does not like, such as misguided urban renewal and opponents of the Batavia Clippers.”—Wendell Tripp, New York History

ABOUT Every Man a King (Soho Press/1989)

“witty, splenetic…shot through with a seemingly inexhaustible dose of venom…unfailingly funny”–Publishers Weekly

“Witty and sarcastic, and, at the same time, naïve and innocent…an unusual mixture of irony and optimism”—Booklist

“His pen, dipped as it is in Mencken, has a pleasantly wicked touch”—Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post

“Kauffman…is in the tradition of H.L. Mencken. When he gets rolling he possesses some of Mencken’s verbal magic, as well as his wit and capacity for being entertained rather than depressed by what he scornfully observes”—Theodore M. O’Leary, Kansas City Star

“a thoroughly enjoyable and provocative novel…breezy, rollicking…thoughtful and introspective”—McCoy C. Campbell, Chattanooga Times

“a devastating and dead-on portrayal of the young conservative opportunistic society strivers who descended on Washington during Good King Ronald’s reign”—Alan Bock, Orange County Register

“Kauffman’s novel is a song of Western New York…a bright contribution to American literature and a signal addition to that large and growing corpus of works that are peculiarly New York—Wendell Tripp, New York History

“it is both sad and inspiring; Batavia is dead, but Batavia lives on. It is also…very, very funny.”—Jesse Walker, Liberty

More about Every Man A King, by Bill Kauffman