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American: Beyond Our Grandest Notions [Kindle Edition]

Chris Matthews
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $13.00
Kindle Price: $9.47
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Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

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Book Description

From Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's Hardball and NBC's The Chris Matthews Show, and New York Times bestselling author of Now, Let Me Tell You What I Really Think, comes a definitive work on the lifeblood of America -- its enduring spirit.
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.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

TV pundit Matthews invokes a kaleidoscope of cultural icons, including Lincoln, Bogart, Hemingway, Oprah and the Don't Tread On Me rattlesnake in this giddy, slapdash, intermittently coherent love letter to "American-ness." Matthews boils down this broad idea into some basic-and sometimes contradictory-precepts. Americans, he says, are pugnacious but anti-militaristic; they admire gun-slinging loners and heroic men of action, but love the little guy and underdogs; they are optimists with a manifest destiny and an eye for personal reinvention. Matthews's analysis rarely goes beyond hagiographies of celebrities and politicians and ardent appreciations of movies like Casablanca and Rocky (or in a darker-but still light-mood, Taxi Driver, whose psychotic hero is an "oddly comforting figure from our frontier past" possessed of an "edgy generosity" and "readiness to give all"). Some claims are suspect: that Americans "reject the dandified haberdashery of war," for instance, might come as news to legions of Civil War reenacters. The volume's vaguely populist centrism nods benignly at Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, at pro-gun and pro-choice sentiments, at Vietnam War POW John McCain and Vietnam War draft-dodgers, all of whom partake of our transcendent national essence. His Whitmanesque embrace of contradictions papers over great fissures in American politics and society, but that is precisely the point of Matthews's positive, chest-thumping thesis: it's all good. Photos.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Chris Matthews is host and anchor of MSNBC's Hardball, and star of the NBC-syndicated The Chris Matthews Show. A veteran of fifteen years with the San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle, he was a speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter and senior aide to Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill, Jr., former U.S. Speaker of the House. Matthews is the New York Times bestselling author of Now, Let Me Tell You What I Really Think, as well as the classics Hardball and Kennedy & Nixon. Matthews lives with his wife, Kathleen Matthews, news anchor for the ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C., and their three children in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Product Details

  • File Size: 16108 KB
  • Print Length: 260 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0743240871
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (October 1, 2013)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00F8KUJH6
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,340,308 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The audio version does not disappoint November 27, 2003
Format:Audio CD
Okay, so what makes the audio version of a book better than the bound version? Why, the reader, of course! How about if the reader is the guy who actually wrote the book? Even better, right? Suppose the guy has a highly rated show on MSNBC? Hmmm...intriguing. If you're a Hardball fan, you've come to expect a certain delivery from its mildly quirky host, Chris Matthews. Here we have a gathering of Matthews' favorite moments in American history. They may not necessarily be your favorite moments, but who cares? It's just fun listening. Matthews succeeds in bringing historical perspective and American attitude to what he considers to be important moments in cinema, politics, and events, which have shaped our country and its development. He could have continued with the idea, and possibly have written ten times the volume of work, but he kept it short and sweet. Here's the beauty of the concept. Sequels, sequels, and more sequels. Matthews has left the idea wide open for endless opportunities to add to the collection. I for one will be there to purchase every audio CD version as it becomes available. When you listen to Matthews reading his own stuff, you can occasionally catch a glimpse of the emotion he wants you to feel. Probably the same emotion intended during the writing process. He tried to keep it subdued, and during the first disk he appeared to consciously keep it under the speed limit. But with everything he does the intensity level creeps up on you, and he takes it up a notch. You really can't help but get into it. Why is Chris Matthews so successful, well respected, and yes feared by certain political and media figures? Because they don't take the time to research what his passions are before they appear on his show. Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All-American April 26, 2003
Author Matthews has an "All-American" view of our collective
history, and he does a nice job of highlighting some of the
things that have specifically shaped him into a particular
"all-American" character himself.
He touches briefly on some of our cultural heroes, and since
they are all worthy of review, his thoughts on them are
worth reading. It seems a bit odd that he puts such emphasis
on movies and their heroes, but those movies have no doubt
influenced his view of America, just as other factors have
shaped our own view.
The author hits only the high points of a rather odd mixture
of historic figures, but they are all worth reviewing, and
he gives the reader some positive thoughts to consider, and
it is a nice review of a few American leaders who have influenced our collective thinking about exactly what a "real"
American is.
Given the author's experience and education, this book has a
rather "light" feel to it, and it is rather easy to get through
it quickly, but his points are nonetheless valid. Many factors
make up a true American, and they come from a great variety of
sources during the last 300 years, and we still credit a lot
of our qualities to our forebearers, both real and fictional.
An interesting read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars With Pride and Prejudice November 23, 2002
By A Customer
Chris Matthews' new book, American - Beyond our Grandest Notions, is a gem. It's a quick read, and for that reason alone may appeal to students, parents who want be able to explain to their kids why America is truly the land of the free and home of the brave and perhaps most importantly - this book will give boomers and seniors a much needed booster shot of pride in this nation.
The prejudice comes in because it frankly and without pretense champions the citizens of the USA. Not a bad combination in today's world where it is fashionable to take the pseudo-intellectual position of seeing the rest of the peoples of the earth as victims of Americans and beating their chests with feigned mea-culpas. We've had decades of post-modern, deconstructionist cynicism. It is entirely appropriate at this time in our history to remind ourselves that Americans have some unique qualities and why this is so. The 10 people Matthews chose to demonstrate these characteristics come from nearly 250 years in our past to the present.
Want to have some damned good, honest responses to share with the next boor who whines about the demise of your homeland? Treat yourself and people you care about to a copy of American.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sunnycarcinoid November 17, 2002
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I recommend this book, it is only 200+ pages and very well documented. It could be very good resource material for a civic class, American history class, and should be required reading for American's. This book is NOT negative, but delves into why we are like we are and not like anyone else in the world. Chris comes up with ten, uniquely American notions and they are very interesting. IMHO (in my humble opinion) this is very worthwhile reading! Senator John McCain is one of his contemporary examples, but Chris goes back to before the Revolutionary War for other examples.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars American History Lite June 6, 2005
This book is alot like light beer. It satisfies somewhat, but after consuming it, you wonder why. I like Chris Matthews, because I think he tries to be fair to both sides on his TV show. I read to learn new things, and regretfully I learned little from this book. This book tries to tie in history, famous figures, and movies. Well, I suppose there is something to this, but history is history and not stories in movies. The other tenet in this book is the characteristics of Americans that make them different from the rest of the world. Again a long stretch. People are people, and Americans are no more unique than others in this world.

I think highly of Chris Matthews and his first book Kennedy and Nixon. This just wasn't a great book. There are more deserving books out there.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible
Boring, trite, rushed. These talking heads just seem to churn out books for the payday, but there's no substance behind it. This book was awful. It was so bad I actually got angry. Read more
Published on February 21, 2012 by Darren Landes
4.0 out of 5 stars American : Beyond Our Grandest Notions
ISBN 0743240863 - Manufactured in the United States of America (and oh boy was that good to find in this book, of all my recent reads!). Read more
Published on August 2, 2010 by Anna M. Ligtenberg
1.0 out of 5 stars It's Really Just a Long List of Things Chris Likes
Though I know who Chris Matthews is and I've watched a few clips of HARDBALL, I've never actually watched HARBALL or THE CHRIS MATTHEWS SHOW on tv. Read more
Published on March 9, 2010 by tvtv3
5.0 out of 5 stars Give one to every naturalized citizen & every shcool in the US!
I enjoy Hardball, and I love The Chris Matthews Show. Here is his quirky, funny, genuine, and insightful crystallization of what makes an American an American. Read more
Published on August 5, 2009 by Home Away From Home
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a fan of Matthews, but.......
I surprised myself by purchasing the audio version of this book even though I find Matthews annoying and counter to my ideology. Read more
Published on March 11, 2009 by Leafsfan2028
4.0 out of 5 stars The American ideals according to Matthews
I am a big fan of Matthews' television show "Hardball." He asks tough questions of all his guests and tries to pry the truth out of them. Read more
Published on April 26, 2006 by Charles Ashbacher
5.0 out of 5 stars "What do you say? Let's try it!"
Well, I finally got around to reading this book.I note from the reviews they have been very mixed culminating in an average of 3 stars. Read more
Published on December 6, 2005 by J. Guild
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple but Optimistic
I read most of the reviews already posted, particularly the negative ones. I am not sure what people were expecting from Chris or the book but I found it to be an easy and... Read more
Published on March 3, 2005 by Starwheel
1.0 out of 5 stars pretty much a long junior high essay
I usually don't write reviews, and I am not much of a reader myself, but I am greatly disappointed in this book. First, the book has the style of a high school paper. Read more
Published on January 11, 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun and insightful read
If you enjoy politics, American history, and movies, check out this read. What makes America great? Chris Matthews tells us. Read more
Published on January 10, 2004 by Chris Salzer
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