One Man's America

One Man's America

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In his provocative and compelling new book, Americaa€™s most widely read and most influential commentator casts his gimlet eye on our singular nation. Moving far beyond the strict confines of politics, George F. Will offers a fascinating look at the people, stories, and eventsa€“often unheraldeda€“that make the American drama so endlessly entertaining and instructive. With Willa€™s signature erudition and wry wit always on display, One Mana€™s America chronicles a spectacular, eclectic procession of figures who have shaped our cultural landscapea€“from Playboy founder Hugh Hefner to National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr., from Victorian poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, from cotton pickera€” turneda€”country singer Buck Owens to actor-turned-president Ronald Reagan. Will crisscrosses the country to illuminate what it is that makes America distinctive. He visits the USS Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor and ponders its enduring links to the present. He travels to Milwaukee to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of an iconic brand, Harley-Davidson. In Los Angeles he finds the inspiring future of education, while in New York he confronts the dispiriting didacticism of the avant-garde. He ventures to the Civil War battlefields of Virginia to explore what we risk when we efface our own history. And on the outskirts of Chicago he investigates one of the darkest chapters in American history, only to discover a shining example of resilience and gracea€“the best the country has to offer. Willa€™s wide lens takes in much more as wella€“everything from the a€œmost emblematic novel of the 1930sa€ (and no, it is not about the Joads) to the cult of ESPN to Brooks Brothers and Ben a Jerrya€™s. And of course, One Mana€™s America would not be complete without the authora€™s insights on the national pastime, baseballa€“the icons and the cheats, the hapless and the greats. Finally, in a personal and reflective turn, Will writes movingly of his thirty-five-year-old son Jon, born with Down syndrome, and pays loving and poignant tribute to his mother, who died at the age of ninety-eight after a long struggle with dementia. The essays in One Mana€™s America, even when critiquing American culture, reflect Willa€™s deep affection and regard for our nation. After all, he notes, when America falls short, it does so only as compared to a€œthe uniquely high standards it has set for itself.a€ In the end, this brilliantly informative and entertaining book reminds us of the enduring value of a€œthe simple virtues and decencies that can make communities flourish and that have made America great and exemplary.a€ From the Hardcover edition.Such parents produce children who, Coll writes, worry unhealthily as they were taught to worry in health class: a€œIf ... Imagine plowing through applicantsa#39; essays a€œ about how Mahatma Gandhi was the single greatest inspiration in these kidsa#39;anbsp;...

Title:One Man's America
Author: George Will
Publisher:Crown Forum - 2008-06-03

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