The rich and sometimes discordant strains of American self-scrutiny fill this wide-ranging anthology. Kennedy (The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis) arranges the more than 200 selections according to themes like "The Flag," "Freedom of Speech," "Work, Opportunity and Invention" and "The Individual," and devotes equal space to the official, the devotional and the oppositional. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are reprinted in full, along with a large selection of presidential inaugurals and farewells and excerpts from landmark Supreme Court decisions. Popular songs include "Yankee Doodle," "This Land Is Your Land" and "Surfin' USA." Poems and fiction from such luminaries as Whitman, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Stephen Crane, Alice Walker and Annie Proulx explore the variegated textures of American life. The dissident voices of Thoreau, Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass hold America to account for its injustice; H.L. Mencken castigates it as "a commonwealth of third-rate men"; and Oscar Wilde raises a sardonic eyebrow at the whole dubious enterprise. Combining traditional touchstones of Americanism with many insightful surprises, Kennedy's thoughtful arrangement of works of historical significance and literary quality will reward both casual browsers and those conducting a more focused investigation of the nation's patriotic literature. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.