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America: The Last Best Hope (Volume II): From a World at War to the Triumph of Freedom Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 17, 2007

ISBN-10: 1595550577

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595550577
  • ASIN: B001NXDRLW
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,092,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The second volume of Bennett's overview of U.S. history begins with the events leading up to WWI, tracing the progress of the U.S. through the end of Reagan's presidency. Bennett (The Book of Virtues) has a long history of government service-he was Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan and Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under George H.W. Bush-and the overall tone of the book reflects the deep respect he holds for America's leaders, history and institutions. Bennett is a leading figure in the neoconservative movement, so his interpretation of America's last 90 years is informed by that perspective. But while he wears both his patriotism and politics on his sleeve, Bennett avoids flag-waving or talk-radio-style generalizations. This is a breezy, heartfelt survey, written with the average reader in mind, that will appeal broadly to those looking for an America-friendly introduction to 20th century U.S. history.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About 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 editor of more than twenty-five books.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

William J. Bennett served as Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President George H. W. Bush and as Secretary of Education and Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities under President Reagan. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from Williams College, a doctorate in political philosophy from the University of Texas, and a law degree from Harvard. He is the author of such bestselling books as The Educated Child, The Death of Outrage, The Book of Virtues, and the two-volume series America: The Last Best Hope. Dr. Bennett is the host of the nationally syndicated radio show Bill Bennett's Morning in America. He is also the Washington Fellow of the Claremont Institute and a regular contributor to CNN. He, his wife, Elayne, and their two sons, John and Joseph, live in Maryland.


Customer Reviews

Bill Bennet writes well and presents an informative history that does not "read" like a history text.
cjwo57
This is an outstanding and comprehensive history that will provide the reader with information to counter the historical revisionists.
Donald R. May
I highly recommend this and the other two volumes by Bennett to anyone interested in the full sweep of American history.
M. G. Hancock

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is the second volume of William J. Bennett's history of America. It is written for the general reader or student who is interested in reading the history of our country from an unabashedly supportive point of view. Bennett judges events, good and bad, from a moral point of view that would be recognizable to anyone aware of traditional religious teaching, that is before the moral relativism of the mid-twentieth century took hold of historical writing.

Bennett picks up the narrative from the first volume with World War I and takes us through the end of Ronald Reagan's presidency and the end of the Soviet Union and the Cold War. He offers an epilogue explaining why he ended the volume there and talks briefly about his view of America and our current situation in the world, including the current war.

As one can tell from the title of these works, Bennett does believe in American Exceptionalism and that, despite its failings, we are a moral country that is seeking to do right and to improve. For this reason, this can be a refreshing read for anyone who believes in traditional morality, admires American, and yet desires a readable and honest history that doesn't shy away from our mistakes and failings. The focus is always on history being made and lived by real people rather than some abstract forces. Bennett is also clear about the various political perspectives of the various historical actors and commentators. This helps the reader keep straight how various schools of political thought have affected the course of history in our country and around the world.

I can imagine that any number of students who are home schooled would use both volumes of these texts to study American history.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Robert Busko VINE VOICE on May 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
William Bennett's America: The Last Best Hope, Vol. II is a wonderful conclusion to the work he began in volumer I. Full bodied, well written and honest in its breadth, Volume 2 is the history that most Americans would be proud of. I also agree with the other reviewer that both volume I and II would make a terrific course of study for home schooled children. I would go one step further in stating that it should be required reading on every high school and perhaps college campus in the country, not because it cries out our successes and glosses over our mistakes. Infact, the book does make much of our successes in the 20th century. Bennett does an excellent job in discussing our role in two world war victories. He explains our unsurpassed economic growth and our continued dominance in the world market. He includes our movement in making sure that all are given the opportunity to share in the country's richness. But Bennett also includes our failures and this is what makes the book so great.

My favorite topics of this book are Chapters 1 (America and the Great War (1914-1921)), Chapter 2 (The Boom and the Bust (1921-1933)), Chapter 4 (America's Rendezvous with Destiny (1939-1941)), and those sections dealing with the Reagan years. Bennett is not embarrassed over his devotion to Ronald Reagan and this is clear in the book.

I highly recommend Volume 2.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Scott on May 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a perfect follow up to the first volume. Bennett continues his readable writing style. Even those that marginally like history should find the book enjoyable to read.

While the first volume covers over four centuries, this second volume covers about three quarters of a century. With 533 pages of reading material and 41 pages of bibliography, it is still necessary to drastically limit scope. This is perhaps the most difficult task for a history writer. It necessarily means that some issues are touched upon only lightly.

Bennett's sense of what to include lends to the book's readability as much as does his writing style. He cleverly weaves in human interest stories that help draw the reader in. These vignettes demonstrate America's strengths and weaknesses, but overall they provide an optimistic view of the U.S.

Another device Bennett uses for limiting scope is to largely frame the book around national politics, and particularly around presidential administrations. This is highly useful in providing insight into the kind of people Americans have elected to govern them, which provides a glimpse into the thinking and experiences of Americans at regular historical intervals. But this device also tends to lightly treat some important issues that are not well addressed in national politics.

Bennett's personal feelings regarding historical figures was evident in the first volume, but it seems to me that this shines through much more clearly in the second volume. Perhaps this is because Bennett personally experienced many of the later events and has even had dealings with some of the people he discusses.

For example, Bennett's respect for Eisenhower and Kennedy are apparent, as is his undisguised disgust with Johnson and Nixon.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Saperstein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The first volume of "America: The Last Best Hope" is, in my opinion, the finest contemporary history of the United States yet written. It is an honest telling of the nation's history, warts and all, a far cry than the America hating nonsense that is unfortunately being taught to our children.

The second volume isn't as good. Still superior to anything else on the subject I've read, but I felt that there should have been two volumes, not one. The first covering 1914 to about 1945 and the second from roughly 1945 through the Reagan years.

Why? Because I felt that Dr. Bennett had crammed too much into this single volume and, as a result, been forced to omit illuminating detail. More time and space, for example, should have been spent on examining how Democrats in Congress perpetuated racial discrimination for almost a century and fought demonically until the last to prevent passage of the Civil Rights Act.

Instead, many historically significant episodes are reduced to a few sentences. Still illuminating, but leaving the already knowledgeable reader panting for more. Dr. Bennett and, I presume, his research team have been more than diligent in teasing obscure sources out of the archives and provide new information even to someone like me who has been an avid consumer of American histories for more than five decades.

The book is not perfect. There are small, but disturbing errors, such as the misspelling of Messerschmitt, a WWII German aircraft manufacturer.

On the whole though, this remains a marvelous history of America, faults and all. It would make a wonderful gift, I think, for any intelligent high-school or older student from a giver who wants the recipient to know just how fortunate they are to live in this magnificient nation.

Jerry
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