Allen West: Guardian Ronin


by J.E. Dyer

Allen West’s new book, Guardian of the Republic covers a lot of ground in 200 pages, establishing not just where West is coming from, but where an American republic with liberty and limited government is coming from. You might not have thought you’d pick up Allen West’s book and find yourself reading about Locke and Rousseau, as well as the framers of the U.S. Constitution. Silly you.

As befits a laconic professional warrior, West doesn’t actually spend that much time on his own biography. He credits his parents, “Buck and Snooks,” with instilling in him the values and character that set him on the road to a meaningful life he clearly relishes. In fact, he gives them credit for the breadth of educational and cultural interests that introduced him to The Seven Samurai, the iconic 1954 film directed by Akiro Kurasawa, which he recounts watching as a boy. The story stirred a lifelong interest in the code of bushido and the knightly figures of samurai and ronin.

West’s characterization of himself as an “American ronin” is interesting in its own right. A ronin, of course, is a samurai who has lost his lord and master in one way or another, whether by death or the master’s fall from grace with an overlord. West counts himself as having become a ronin when both of his parents had passed away (his mother went second, in the mid-1990s).

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