In his provocative and compelling new book, America'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 events-often unheralded-that make the American drama so
endlessly entertaining and instructive.
With Will's signature erudition and wry wit always on display, "One
Man's America" chronicles a spectacular, eclectic procession of
figures who have shaped our cultural landscape-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 picker-- turned--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 grace-the best the country has to
Will's wide lens takes in much more as well-everything from the
"most emblematic novel of the 1930s" (and no, it is not about the
Joads) to the cult of ESPN to BrooksBrothers and Ben & Jerry's.
And of course, "One Man's America" would not be complete without
the author's insights on the national pastime, baseball-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 Man's America," even when critiquing American
culture, reflect Will's deep affection and regard for our nation.
After all, he notes, when America falls short, it does so only as
compared to "the uniquely high standards it has set for itself." In
the end, this brilliantly informative and entertaining book reminds
us of the enduring value of "the simple virtues and decencies that
can make communities flourish and that have made America great and
"From the Hardcover edition."
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