Bite the Hand That Feeds You: Essays and Provocations

Henry Fairlie, Author, Jeremy McCarter, Editor, Leon Wieseltier, Foreword by , edited by Jeremy McCarter. Yale Univ. $30 (355p) ISBN 978-0-300-12383-8

A native British wit expresses an adopted American ebullience in this sparkling collection of political journalism and commentary. Fairlie (1924–1990) migrated from London to the U.S. in the 1960s, where his writings in the Washington Post , the New Republic and elsewhere both celebrated and pilloried the American scene. The unstuffy Brit applauds America's informality, its gadgetry, its abundance and vastness, and its personification in a cowboy-poet named Hooter he meets in a Mankato, Minn., bar, but he's appalled by its politics. An avowed Tory in Britain, he discovers conservatism's Reaganite version to be “narrow-minded and selfish and mean-spirited”; he duly eulogizes FDR, attacks George F. Will and denounces government bashing as “the sneer of patronizing and vaulting privilege at the needs of ordinary people that can be served only by government.” Whether stomping on the “dangerous insects” in the Washington media corps or defending his beloved Scotch whiskey against the Perrier water fad that prompted “the abandonment of... a wholesome and convivial liquor for a suspect Gallic product,” Fairlie's elegantly pugilistic prose still feels fresh—and surprisingly relevant to today's politics. (June)

Reviewed on: 03/30/2009
Release date: 06/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 361 pages - 978-0-300-15552-5
Paperback - 355 pages - 978-0-300-16460-2
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