Speaking Out: A Congressman's Lifelong Fight Against Bigotry, Famine, and War

Overview

In his twenty-two years as an Illinois congressman and in the years since he left office, Paul Findley has fought to eradicate famine, end wars, and eliminate bigotry in U.S. foreign policy. This sweeping political memoir opens with Findley’s early days in rural Pittsfield, Illinois, and chronicles his service during six administrations in Washington. His many accomplishments in Congress include authoring the Famine Prevention Act, coauthoring the 1973 War Powers Resolution, leading agricultural trade missions to...

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Overview

In his twenty-two years as an Illinois congressman and in the years since he left office, Paul Findley has fought to eradicate famine, end wars, and eliminate bigotry in U.S. foreign policy. This sweeping political memoir opens with Findley’s early days in rural Pittsfield, Illinois, and chronicles his service during six administrations in Washington. His many accomplishments in Congress include authoring the Famine Prevention Act, coauthoring the 1973 War Powers Resolution, leading agricultural trade missions to the Soviet Union and China, and strongly opposing the Vietnam War. This autobiography is also a no-holds-barred critique of Israel’s lobby and its toll on the national interests of the United States. Few politicians are so openly critical of their government, and Findley’s opinions on what he believes to be disastrous foreign policy provide a unique behind-the-scenes perspective on the shaping of these policies in the latter half of the twentieth century.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“There is a place in America called Findley Country.  Inspired by its founding father, the people who live there cherish principled politics, political courage, and speaking truth to power (even when it hurts).  Paul has given us a lively recollection of a robust and honorable life in public service, grounded in a patriot’s devotion to the country he loves.”  —Bill Moyers
 

“Fascinating reading, from an engaging memoir of authentic Middle America to a distinguished career in Congress.  Findley throughout has been an independent thinker and courageous advocate [...] an impressive record and a lively and informative account.”  —Noam Chomsky

“One of the most creative, indomitable advocates for international law, the end of wars, arms races, and famines. [. ..] Rare anywhere is that combination of moral determinism,  pioneering, practical proposals, and strong character to sweat the Big Stuff.” —Ralph Nader

“Paul Findley illustrates how interfaith relations is key to peace-making in the twenty-first century, with one central value to follow—justice.  Understanding his work will strengthen America for the future.” —Salam Al Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council

“A must-read about a true American patriot. Paul Findley is one of those rare U.S. citizens in public life who is incorruptible, who stands up for what he believes.  It is this honorable trait that cost him reelection for a twelfth term. He dared to criticize and challenge Israel's criminal actions vis-à-vis Palestinians.” —Hedy Epstein, human rights activist and Holocaust survivor

“Paul Findley’s fascinating life story ends with a wakeup warning: Our government’s subservience to Israel is costing America dearly.” —former Senator James Abourezk

“Powerful lobby forces conspired to force him out of an influential career in Congress, only to have him surface again as a bestselling author and political activist, still fighting for justice and peace in the Middle East. In the words of Harvard professor Stephen Walt, Paul Findley  ‘was there first.’” —James M. Wall, former editor, Christian Century magazine

"Speaking Out is inspiring and informing, and should be read by all who seek a deeper understanding of the need for reform in U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East."  —CNIonline.org (Council for the National Interest)

Kirkus Reviews

Former Illinois Republican Congressman Findley (Silent No More: Confronting America's False Images of Islam, 2001, etc.) reflects on the time he served in office—1960 to 1982—and the lessons he learned over the years.

The congressman reminds us of the time when bipartisanship was the rule not the exception. As a middle-of-the-road Republican, he was a fiscal conservative but also active supporter of civil-rights legislation. Although he started off as a hawk, he became a proponent of ending the war in Vietnam. An admirer of Eisenhower, Findley also respected JFK and his measured approach during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Raised in a small town in Illinois, the author began his career as a reporter while still in high school—ultimately becoming the owner and publisher of thePike County Republican—and his first taste of politics was during the 1936 election, when he supported Alf Landon against FDR. Astonishing today, the author writes that his first election victory cost "slightly less than $21,000, all paid in full the day before voting." In 1973, Findley, who was part of a congressional group visiting the Middle East, met Yasser Arafat and became concerned about Israel's treatment of Palestinians. This was a transformative experience. " I became convinced Palestinians had legitimate grievances against our government," he writes. Overlooking all other relevant geopolitical issues, including the Cold War and the oil crises, the author writes that since the Kennedy Administration, "all U.S. Presidents have done the bidding of Israel's lobby, and the Congress has done the same," resulting in "religious bias in foreign policy" and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A serviceable overview of a distinguished career, somewhat marred by the author's occasionally extremist views.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569766255
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/1/2011
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Findley served as a U.S. representative from Illinois from 1960 to 1982. He is the author of Deliberate Deceptions: Facing the Facts About the U.S.–Israeli Relationship, Silent No More: Confronting America’s False Images of Islam, and They Dare to Speak Out.

Helen Thomas is a former White House correspondent.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Helen Thomas vii

Prologue: Excitement in the Village xi

Part I Growing Up 1

1 Fun on Edgehill Road 3

2 Leaving Hard Times 10

3 War and Romance 23

4 Country Editor 37

5 Pittsfield and Politics 41

Part II Riding Lincoln's Coattails 51

6 Abe Leads the Way 53

7 Preserving an Heirloom 64

8 Battling a Veteran 75

9 Ignoring the Speaker's Advice 86

Part III Vietnam Dissembling 103

10 The French Connection 105

11 Civil Rights and Lobbyists 119

12 Trading with the Enemy 130

13 Agony, No Ecstasy 144

Part IV Struggle Against Folly 163

14 Curbing Presidential Wars 165

15 Intruding at the Summit 174

16 Tugging at China's Door 193

17 Combating Scourges 209

Part V High Cost of Religious Bias 217

18 Middle East Thicket 219

19 Confronting AIPAC 233

20 A New Door Opens 245

21 Fateful Cover-Up 259

22 Seeds of Holy War 271

23 Banishing Jungle Law 289

Epilogue: Nation in Peril 303

Notes 313

Acknowledgments and Family Notes 315

Index 317

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