Customer Reviews for

What's So Great About America

Average Rating 4.5
( 27 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2002

    Publishers Weekly and Booknews did not read this book

    The two 'reviews' above from Publishers Weekly and Booknews are shameful and do not come remotely close to giving this book the thoughtful criticism it certainly deserves. Either these people did not read the book, sleepwalked through it, or simply read a page or two to get a vague idea of what it was about. The Publisher's Weekly review says, 'For the most part, D'Souza steers clear of criticizing his fellow conservatives, and when he does, as when he lectures them about the need to combine morality with freedom, he lacks specifics.' Excuse me, but he spent an entire chapter (over 30 pages, as well as a portion of the first chapter -- roughly a fifth of the book) criticizing cultural conservatives, and did make specific charges; had they actually read the book, they would have known better and avoided embarassing themselves. The Booknews review is even more vague. It says that one of the ideas in this book is that 'outsiders hate us because we are 'great and noble.'' Again, ridiculous; to attempt to sum up D'Souza's arguments so simply is to be ignorant of the thoughtful, philosophical debate and extraordinary amount of research and fact-finding that Mr. D'Souza put into this book (144 footnotes, to be exact). Going back to Publisher's Weekly's review, it says, 'In the end, reading D'Souza's book is similar to spending an hour listening to Rush Limbaugh on the radio his fellow travelers will love it; readers on the left will love to hate it.' D'Souza sounding NOTHING like Rush, and his arguments are intended to appeal to left and right-wing Americans (and fans of America) alike. It sounds as though Publisher's Weekly simply looked at the title of this book and assumed it was a 'rah-rah,' flag-waiving read (the first line of PW's review says, 'It's easy to see the appeal of D'Souza's patriotic cheerleading...') Nothing can be further from the truth; if this is the kind of book you're looking for, look further. The truth is that it would prove difficult and perhaps impossible for any publishing company to dispute the facts and arguments that D'Souza lays out, which is another possible reason for their erroneous excuses for reviews. D'Souza makes great arguments against Islamic fundamentalism, multiculturalism and cultural relativism, moral relativism, cultural conservativism, and reparations for Native and black Americans. Those who are tired of hearing academics and college students badmouthing America left and right: this book is your ultimate defense. It presents multi-layered arguments that even the most elite, worldly scholars would be hard-pressed to counter. As Ben Stein said in his praise of the book: 'Buy it, and consider yourself lucky.'

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2002

    What a Treat!

    This inspiring book should be required reading for all college students - and college professors. It is excellent. It has so many good points that I can't stop talking about it to my family and friends. It's so timely, so relevant. Do youself a favor and read it.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 25, 2010

    Highly Recommended

    A stark and refreshing reminder of what it means to be American. This book details why America , though not perfect , should stand tall and proud against it's critics. Written by an immigrant it highlights how unique in world history this nation is and how it's freedoms make so many opportunities possible.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2003

    Great Book

    D'Souza provides a perspective on America that most social scientists tend to venture away from. He focuses on the great aspects of our country. I believe that he offers beneficial and valid insight. I really enjoyed this book and I praise him for his work.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2002

    Fantastic book

    A wonderful and well researched book. Mr. D'Souza tackles a major contemporary issue 'America'. Mr D'Souza advances his arguments by looking at classic liberal ideology from the likes of Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Mill, Jefferson, Madison, and Rousseau. His knowledge of American and World History is complete and demonstrated in this book. For those who are tired of the constant insult to America this is a great book. To those who hate America this is a must read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 14, 2014

    Anyone who has been battered and besieged by the literature of g

    Anyone who has been battered and besieged by the literature of grievance and the politics of oppression will find D'Souza's discussion presents a refreshing change of perspective. May reason and truth prevail!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 23, 2014

    America: Imagine a World Without Her

    America: Imagine a World Without Her

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  • Posted April 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Perpetually relevant

    In the aftermath of 9/11 a lot of ink was spilt on trying to understand why America was attacked and how do America's enemies perceive this nation. Amidst all of the soul-searching a new theme had gradually emerged especially on the intellectual left: America was attacked because America is an awful country that has always been doing a lot of bad domestically and abroad. In words of one infamous preacher, America's chickens had come home to roost. And yet America to this day attracts more voluntary immigration than any other nation on Earth. One of those immigrants is Dinesh D'Souza, the author of this book. In that capacity he is one of the best people around to tell America what is so great about her, and to remind her many detractors that its greatest achievements are the true reasons why so many hate her. D'Souza is not an uncritical admirer of America, but someone who has truly lived an American dream and achieved a remarkable level of success in his professional life. Like many other immigrants from traditional cultures, he is also apprehensive about bringing up his kids in a country where there are no absolute and immutable social norms. But just like many others, he is also appreciative of living in a country that enables one to pursue one's dreams and not be restrained by the circumstances of one's birth. These are the enduring messages of the American way of life. So even though the book was written as a response to particular historical events and circumstances, it remains fresh and relevant for as long as the idea of American dream is fresh and relevant. And if history is any guide, this will remain true for many more years.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2008

    True Dynamism of America

    The experiment known as America has been the most breathtaking, powerful, inspiring, and influential in history of an experiment to ever be devised, no matter your political persuasions. It has been a force like none other, perhaps more than even China. D'Souza, a conservative to the core, expresses that brilliance that America has inspired with almost a religious devotion. Even though I am a moderate Democrat, I agree with many of his fundamental arguments on foreign policy and the redemptive platitudes of the West. His idea that Islam is in trouble would not be in vogue on many college campuses, but it clearly finds something different to offer in the American experiment. As he points out, most people have had racial and ethnocentrism in their history, especially the wise Chinese. The curious Anglo-Saxons, however, had the curiosity of the other and that is why they rule the world now. Accept his thesis on that. His chapter on Native Americans and African Americans was underwhelming, as he underestimates the racism of current society and the contributions of these two influential minority groups, which have been oppressed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2004

    Worth reading twice. CD version is also good.

    I bought this book to use as reference after listening to it on CD. In the current climate of polarized political debate, Dinesh D¿Souza brings a solid, unemotional case to the literary arena ¿ that case being America/western culture has something of value. This book examines how the West/America fits in the CONTEXT of history. From that platform of context he delves into details and weaves them together to build his thesis. His writing style is cohesive and laden with profound material. Thankfully, his rare attempts at humor have a point. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ If you¿re conservative this book is a must. If you¿re a liberal, you¿ll find Dinesh at least likable in that he avoids inflammatory rhetoric. If you despise America, you're money is better spent on Edward Said or Noam Chomsky.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2002

    Refreshing but simplistic

    This book IS a cheerleading for America and many of it's most important core values, and thus a refreshing change of pace. After all, its main message is that America is a mostly just, good-hearted, extremely efficient and effective nation, so sure of its superiority that it can afford to question even its tiniest internal flaws as a society. It feels good to read this message because it is fundementally true and yet not a common message among serious writers. I was expecting a diatribe, for Mr. De'Souza is sponsored by the Hoover Institution, a (very) conservative think tank. However, there is a very personal, almost self-deprecating tone which gives it a light touch. He does, however, show a failure to understand the weight of perhaps the most significant event in my lifetime of 51 years, the civil rights movement, and thus much of 20th century US history. Since he was not living in this country until the late 1970's that is somewhat understandable. But it's also a serious limitation which he unfortunately lacks the humility to consider as such. Thus when he is extremely unsympathetic to the perfectly understandable emotional scars of some very brave veterans of the civil rights era, it struck me as rather childish and ignorant. Immediately after reading it, I thought it was a four star read, but after considering it for a week, it occurs to me that it is somewhat simplistic in its handling of issues that are, alas, a lot more complex than we would sometimes like to admit, such as why Europeans so often dislike America (because the Europeans are "decadent", not considering that our handling of our environment might not be beyond reproach). So in all a cheerful and spirited read, and a rousing hooray for our shared core values, but not likely to withstand deep scrutiny or reflection.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2002

    I Love America Too, But Leave Out The Partisan Bias

    Geez, I guess Mr. D'Souza has never heard about Jerry Falwell. He was the biggest voice of the 'blame America first' crowd after the terrorist attacks of Fall 2001. Radical spokesmen of the anti-abortionist movement, like James Dobson, often mention that America is evil because 1 million abortions take place in it. Plus, historically within this country, strong anti-American movements have been radically conservative in their nature, like the Confederacy. Another thing. As an Indian-American who was born here, I must say I am concerned about this immigrant's lack of respect for his roots and his general dismissal of multiculturalism. I guess he's never heard of the Thanksgiving story where the Pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock, settled, and made peace with the natives. His disrespect for his roots and the truth are why I like people like Colin Powell. At least he doesn't feel compelled to be rolled over by the black conservatives in his party, like Ward Connerly and Alan Keyes. I'm proud that Colin sticks with his beliefs.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2002

    CLEARLY INGENIOUS

    D'SOUZA EXEMPLIFIES A TRUEEEE UNDERSTANDING OF AMERICA, AND USES UNBELIEVABLE LANGUAGE AND SENTENCE STRUCTURE, NO WONDER HE WENT TO GEORGETOWN WOOHOO A+++!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2002

    What's So Great About This Book?

    In some ways I originally thought the title of this book, 'What's So Great About America' (WSGAA), was misleading. I originally purchased the book to read D'Souza's thoughts about why the radical Islamists hate America so much. I have been distressed by the incomplete nature of the popular press's reporting on the radical Islamists. The information and context D'Souza provides regarding Islam is priceless. The actions of radical Islamics now make sense to me. Although the Islamists provide some framework for WSGAA, D'Souza reveals much more about western culture and the American idea. D'Souza's description of the changes that occurred in American culture during the 1960s were fascinating, and I even personally experienced that period of history. Although I've been exposed to some of ideas expressing the merits of America at other times and in other places, I found D'Souza's immigrant perspective and his reasoned insight provide a powerful vision of American culture and 'the American idea.' While you may not agree with all of D'Souza's ideas, they are very well reasoned and thoughtful. This is a great book. Buy it. Read it. You might learn something about yourself and the country in which you live. I learned a lot.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2002

    Read this book and spread the word!

    D'Souza in this book quotes Jeane Kirkpatrick as saying, 'Americans need to face the truth about themselves, no matter how pleasant it is.' This book allows readers to face this truth, and it IS pleasant. D'Souza takes a hard look at all the major criticisms and accusations that have been made against the United States. He finds three camps that make up what he calls the 'blame America first crowd.' They include leftist intellectuals, American multiculturalists, and of course, Islamic fundamentalists. Among the accusations are slavery, colonialism, decadence, and others. Yes, we have all that in our history. No, we are not now, and never have been, perfect. Certain faults inevitably appear among a people who have the freedom 'to write the script of their own lives', as D'Souza puts it, but none of our faults outweigh the wonderful fact that, in the USA, the people DO have the right to write their own scripts. Some people botch that opportunity badly. But the American nation, overall, has written a better script than any nation in history. The Muslim fundamentalists think they have virtue and we don't. The multiculturalists, who unfortunately have a very heavy influence on American education, would have our students believe that we should all be ashamed of our history and culture. Virtually any culture is more laudable than ours, they argue. Because of our legacy of slavery, the American nation owes Americans of African ancestry reparations to the tune of trillions of dollars, they say. The wonderful thing about this book is the way D'Souza meets every accusation and criticism head on and destroys all of them. It is kind of like what Churchill said about democracy-it's the worst form of government except for all the rest. Despite our faults-- and D'Souza, a naturalized citizen from India, that is, an American, doesn't deny that we have faults--this is the greatest nation that ever existed on this earth. We have done more good for more people than any nation. We have the highest national ideals and values that any nation has ever had. If we lived up to every one of them fully, we would be a perfect nation. The great thing about America is that we are ever striving to live up to them. We are, and always have been, on a journey toward that elusive perfection. We may never get there, but the fact that we keep trying, despite all obstacles, puts us miles ahead of anyone else. We have no desire to conquer or bully anyone. We would very much like for all other peoples to have the same freedom to 'write the script of their own lives' that we have. It would seem that that would be a great formula for world peace. The blame-America-first crowd certainly won't like this book because it makes such fools of them, but everyone else will love it. Read this book and spread the word!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2002

    I'm Impressed

    Mr. D'Souza has the gift of language. He presents each concept so simply, clearly, and briefly that you can't wait to call a friend to say, 'hey, did you know that...' Unfortunately you have to put down the book to pick up the phone, so the friend will have to wait. Thanks, Mr. D'Souza, for this refreshing and uplifting book. If I had the means I would stock every school in America with this treasure. As for my bookshelf, it gets a place of honor beside the Patriot's Handbook.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2002

    God Bless America!

    I recommend this book. America is wonderful, and the jealous haters out there want to wipe us out, but if we remember our roots, ask God to protect us, and live right, no weapon formed against us shall prosper. Also recommended is A Guide to the Scriptures. Get it and let the inspiring scriptures ease your worrying.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2002

    A People's Response To Its Critics

    For college students such as myself, D'Souza's book serves as a front line of defense against relentless attacks, by the institutionalized left in academia, against America and American culture as a positive force in the world. I am not entirely unbiased, however. I was lucky enough to assist in research for the book, and the experience was quite rewarding. What is unique about this book, though, is that it is more than just blind patriotism. D'Souza gives some of the best expositions of the critiques of America before answering them. Moreover, he meets today's most prominent critique, the Muslim critique, on its own assumptions, or better put, in the context of its own worldview. This book is especially relevent for all Americans, because the issues he addresses are not only those issues that come from the left, but also from some on the right. In very direct terms, D'Souza speaks to conservatives concerned about the moral state of America, Asian cultures that seek, 'modernization without westernization,' multiculturalists, Muslim fundamentalists, and the current leadership of the Civil Rights movement. Regardless of political ideology, this book will make its readers think. It is humorous, provocative, and one that the reader will return to more than once for its many insights.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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