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Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America (ISBN 978-0-7679-1688-2) is a book by Jim Webb published in 2004.

Born Fighting
Born Fighting.jpg
AuthorJim Webb
CountryUnited States
Publication date
October 5, 2004
Pages384 pp (first edition)

It is a personal view of the Scots-Irish in the United States. Webb maintains that Scots-Irish attitudes form the bedrock of American society, especially among the working class. Writing of the author in The New York Review of Books, Elizabeth Drew notes he is a "warrior-intellectual."[1]

Mackubin Thomas Owens of the Naval War College praises Webb's political analysis, stating "Without really intending to do so, James Webb may have written the most important political book of 2004. Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America helps explain why George W. Bush won reelection by a margin much greater than the conventional wisdom predicted and why both Republicans and Democrats—Democrats especially—must take note if they wish to remain relevant in American politics."[2]

Webb's version of history has been heavily criticised by historian Michael Newton (University of North Carolina) as "an example of what happens when a writer (without a proper grasp of history or the historical method) exploits Scotland and its people for his own political ends", dismissing its unfounded claims as "narcissistic and careless in the extreme."[3]

Born Fighting was the basis for a two-part Smithsonian Channel program on how the Scots-Irish shaped America.[4]

Jeff Minick in Smoky Mountain Living [5] observes "The Scots-Irish, particularly those in the South, have been mocked for their religion, their music, their cultural interests, and their values. In Born Fighting, Webb reminds all of us of the contributions of these people and their descendants."


  1. ^ Elizabeth Drew, "The Jim Webb Story," New York Review of Books. June 26, 2008.
  2. ^ Owens, Mackubin (December 2004). "Review of James Webb's Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America". The Ashbrook Center.
  3. ^ [1]"
  4. ^ Born Fighting. Smithsonian channel.2011.
  5. ^ Jeff Micick, "Great Scots" Smoky Mountain Living. October 1, 2015.