Beyond Our Grandest Notions
People have often wondered what makes America truly great. With a citizenry of vastly different races, religions, cultures, and ethnic backgrounds, what intangible bond unites and defines us as "Americans"? In his own inimitable style, Chris Matthews offers a portrait of a country born of contradictions. We are a people reluctant to fight, who become ferocious when threatened or attacked. We are a deeply practical nation, yet we stand as the world's great optimists. Inherently suspicious of governmental power, we still embrace our flag in times of danger. Fiercely independent, in love with freedom, and eager to face the future, we are like no other people on earth.
Matthews asserts that our greatest strength is a set of distinct notions that comprise our national character. The self-made man. The reluctant warrior. The lone hero. We celebrate them in our popular culture and throughout our history, from 1776 to 9/11. In American, Matthews explores the best America stands for and portrays our country as a beacon for the modern world -- unafraid of challenges, moving ever forward, and ready and willing to prevail.
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Read an Excerpt
Chapter 1: A Self-Made Country
The truth was that Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island sprang from his Platonic conception of himself.
F. SCOTT FITZGERALD, THE GREAT GATSBY
There was once an upscale men's shop in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C., that featured a shiny metal nameplate over the door of its dressing room. It noted that the shop had been honored to have had among its patrons Mr. Cary Grant. It seemed that the gentleman had experienced some unusually warm weather during a visit to Washington and needed a lighter weight suit than he'd brought along. It concluded the historic note by...
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