America: The Last Best Hope (Volume I): From the Age of Discovery to a World at War

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Overview

America, how well do you know your history?

  • Who quelled a coup d'etat by putting on a pair of reading glasses?
  • Which U.S. senator was nearly caned to death on the Senate floor?
  • Which first lady refused to serve alcohol in the White House?
  • What famous inventor was called to find the assassin's bullet in ...
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America: The Last Best Hope (Volume I): From the Age of Discovery to a World at War

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Overview

America, how well do you know your history?

  • Who quelled a coup d'etat by putting on a pair of reading glasses?
  • Which U.S. senator was nearly caned to death on the Senate floor?
  • Which first lady refused to serve alcohol in the White House?
  • What famous inventor was called to find the assassin's bullet in President Garfield's back?
  • Which successful candidate for president insisted on telling the truth about his sex scandal?
  • Which beloved ex-president raced with death and poverty to write his best-selling memoirs and which famous humorist came to his rescue?
  • Which president carefully read the trial notes of 303 condemned Sioux warriors and spared all but 38 from the hangman's noose?
  • Which "four-eyed" future president beat up a drunken bully in a saloon?

In his Farewell Address, Ronald Reagan said if we forget what we have done, we will forget who we are. This book, written by one of Reagan's most loyal lieutenants, responds to Reagan's heartfelt call for an informed patriotism.

We all need to know more about this land we love. In this gripping tale of a nation, our country's past comes alive. Here is the story of those we chose to lead us and what they did with the awesome power we gave them. Join Bill Bennett for the great adventure. America's teacher will lead you on a voyage of discovery.

What others are saying:

"William J. Bennett artfully and subtly makes connections between our past and current events, reminding us ... that we are intimately and immediately connected to the extraordinary Americans who have bestowed upon us our great heritage.... [T]he importance of America: The Last Best Hope probably exceeds anything Dr. Bennett has ever written, and it is more elegantly crafted and eminently readable than any comprehensive work of history I've read in a very long time. It's silly to compare great works of history to great novels, but this book truly is a page-turner.... Prepare to have your faith in, hope for, and love of America renewed."
-Brad Miner, American Compass

"The Role of history is to inform, inspire, and sometimes provoke us, which is why Bill Bennett's wonderfully readable book is so important. He puts our nation's triumphs, along with its lapses, into the context of a narrative about the progress of freedom. Every now and then it's useful to be reminded that we are a fortunate people, blessed with generations of leaders who repeatedly renewed the meaning of America."
-Walter Isaacson, Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

"For too long Americans have been looking for a history of our country that tells the story of America's triumphs as well as its tragedies. Now Bill Bennett has come forward with America: The Last Best Hope, which tells the story-fairly and fully-from 1492 to 1914. Americans who have been reading recent biographies of the Founding Fathers will love this book."
-Michael Barone, US News & World Report

"Bill Bennett's book will stand as perhaps the most important addition to American scholarship at this, the start of the new century. For the past fifty years American historians have either distorted American history or reduced it to a mess of boring indictments of our cultural and political heritage. With this book Bennett offers to Americans young and old an exciting and enjoyable history of what makes America the greatest nation on earth.
-Brian Kennedy, president, The Claremont Institute

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Editorial Reviews

Alan Wolfe
Liberal readers will be wary of his explicitly nationalistic history. They ought instead to recognize what a tribute to liberalism this book is. Precisely because he is so proud of his country and wants to celebrate its greatness, Bennett calls attention to all those movements toward liberty and equality that enabled the United States to expand its ideals and strengthen its citizens. The fact that so prominent a conservative as Bennett accepts nearly all the major reforms of the 19th century suggests just how much the current American consensus remains a liberal consensus.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Bennett, a secretary of education under President Reagan and author of The Book of Virtues, offers a new, improved history of America, one, he says, that will respark hope and a "conviction about American greatness and purpose" in readers. He believes current offerings do not "give Americans an opportunity to enjoy the story of their country, to take pleasure and pride in what we have done and become." To this end, Bennett methodically hits the expected patriotic high points (Lewis & Clark, the Gettysburg Address) and even, to its credit, a few low ones (Woodrow Wilson's racism, Teddy Roosevelt's unjust dismissal of black soldiers in the Brownsville judgment). America is best suited for a high school or home-schooled audience searching for a general, conservative-minded textbook. More discerning adult readers will find that the lack of originality and the overreliance on a restricted number of dated sources (Samuel Eliot Morison, Daniel Boorstin, Henry Steele Commager) make the book a retread of previous popular histories (such as Boorstin's The Americans). This is history put to use as inspiration rather than serving to enlighten or explain, but Bennett does succeed in shaping the material into a coherent, readable narrative. (May 23) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Bennett (The Book of Virtues), President Reagan's second-term secretary of education, has taken on the gargantuan task of chronicling America's history in the hopes, he says, of helping Americans see past today's cynicism and find pride and enjoyment in their country once again. In the first of two projected volumes, he strives to present America's history in a balanced and reasoned manner, and in this he pretty much succeeds, paying attention to the good in American history while also acknowledging the bad. Basing his work not on original research but on some of the best secondary sources available as well as notable period writings, Bennett does a good job of presenting historical events in a fair and even light. One of the work's strengths is Bennett's inclusion of considerable information on the personal characteristics of the men and women he covers, as well as more unusual events, such as Thomas Jefferson and the gift of the "Mammoth Cheese." Such details make history come alive for general readers and students. Bennett does not break new ground or analyze why history unfolded as it did, but he does present American history in an optimistic and engaging manner. Recommended for all public libraries.-Lisa A. Ennis, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham Lib. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-This exhaustive political and military history is well organized, with an excellent table of contents, 13 chapter titles that include dates, and each chapter divided into sections with headings for easy scanning. The chronological narrative covers familiar content, and Bennett writes in a conversational tone. In each chapter he sets the stage, relates events in detail, sprinkles in quotes from personages or literature of the time, and then shifts into editorial mode on such issues as slavery, the treatment of Native Americans, and child-labor practices. He humanizes the "main characters" with physical descriptions and anecdotes. This lively book acknowledges mistakes and shortcomings, yet patriotically asserts that the American experiment in democracy is still a success story.-Sondra VanderPloeg, Tracy Memorial Library, New London, NH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595551115
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/17/2007
  • Pages: 592
  • Sales rank: 522,290
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. William J. Bennett is one of America’s most influential and respected voices on cultural, political, and educational issues.Host of the top-ten nationally syndicated radio show Bill Bennett’s Morning in America, he is also the Washington Fellow of the Claremont Institute. He is the author and editorof more than twenty-fivebooks.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    Great book.

    My professor is teaching us using this book. Its fantastic.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2011

    Fantastic book!

    This book is a must read.
    It is not often that a history book is this entertaining!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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