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VINE VOICEon June 11, 2008
I enjoyed One Man's America for its insight, and because George Will refuses to allow readers to be lazy. I must admit, though, that it often seems like he just swallowed a thesaurus, that he's never met a compound adjective he didn't like. "No vulgarity is unthinkable now that the Holocaust has become fodder for semi-intellectual wisecracks," he writes, "the plaything of theory-weaving and ax-grinding academic and artistic mediocrities who discern a moral equivalence between commercial advertising and Nuremberg rallies."

Of course, I'm comparing that to my own writing, which usually doesn't ponder the theory-weaving of much beyond My Disney Girl's Perfectly Princess Tea Party. But I digress.

Will's smart stories give readers much to think about.

Although proudly lacking the common touch, his essays are often about the common man. The stories in this collection cover a wide range of topics, including baseball pitcher Greg Maddux, the movie United 93, atrocities of the Holocaust, the messy birth of aviation and the similarities between the Pearl Harbor attack and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The last two essays in the book are personal and touching: Will talks about his 35-year-old son Jon, born with Down Syndrome, and the death of his mother Louise at age 98.

I don't usually share Will's politics, but I have always admired his writing, and this generally apolitical book was a pure pleasure to read. I should note, however, that many of the 138 stories may seem familiar. All but seven are reprints, originally published in Newsweek and the Washington Post.

Here's the chapter list:

1. People
2. Paths to the Present
3. Governing
4. Sensibilities and Sensitivities
5. Learning
6. Games
7. The Game
8. Wondering
9. Matters of Life and Death
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HALL OF FAMEon June 13, 2008
"One Man's America" focuses not on the large events of the first years of the 21st century, but rather how a conservative sensibility reacts to smaller matters. While doing so he also provides an entertaining and instructive unfolding of the American story.

Will's work begins with people (William F. Buckley, Barry Goldwater, John F. Kennedy, etc.), and then on to various topics such as "The Amazing Banality of Flight," "Ed Schools vs. Education," and of course, an entire chapter on baseball. It ends, with a brief summary of his son's life with Down's Syndrome, and his mother's long dying with dementia. Throughout, it is thoughtful.

What I find most attractive about George Will, however, is not his intelligent, conservative perspectives, but his never-ceasing objectivity. Sometimes conservatives are just plain stupid, and when that is the case, George Will is the first to say so.
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on July 19, 2008
This is the eighth collection of George Will's columns and other writings. The book is a great series of reflections on American life from 2002 to 2008.

"One Man's America" is a treasure trove of columns on historical figures, politics, history, the culture, sports (especially Will's beloved baseball), education, and science. He has a couple of great columns on the recently departed William F. Buckley, and his year-end columns and his columns about books are especially enjoyable.

Will is a national treasure. He is so learned, and has a staggering amount of background knowledge, that he manages to drop numerous unfamiliar facts about familiar people and incidents into his columns, which means that the columns must surely be educational for even the most well-informed D.C. insider. You may not agree with him on every issue, but to read George Will is not to spend time--it is to invest time.
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on August 3, 2008
This is an interesting book by Will that covers everything from baseball to politics to race relations. It is a collection of short essays written over the last few years. While Will is inarguably a leading thinker within the conservative movement, his book does not look fondly upon the Bush 43 administration.

And in case you thought George Will was devoid of a sense of humor, he writes, "But, then, serendipity has often attended the Fourth of July. That day is the birthday of Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804), arguable the father of American literature. And of Stephen Foster (1826), arguably the father of American music. And - save the most luminous for last - the sainted Calvin Coolidge (1872), who oversaw a 45 percent increase in American's production of ice cream". (p. 235)
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on September 26, 2008
The simple narrative on George Will is that he's conservative. That of course is either praise or criticism. But I found this book to be surprisingly apolitical. I actually found it to be both warm and engaging in how it celebrates fundamental human things. You even find joy and, dare I say, quiet inspiration in this book. The biggest inspiration? Mr. Will's observations come from a personal place. They seem not part of the daily cartoon-ish dialogues of left versus right, or good versus evil. Instead they are, whether agreeable to ones inclinations or not, those of an objective observer making a reasoned case. I finished this book and realized I'd gained perspective not ideology. And that was refreshing. And boy-oh-boy he writes well ...
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on May 19, 2014
I enjoy Will's writing anyway, if not always the topic. Always well-written, I particularly enjoyed the column on the passing of his Mom. I am facing a similar situation. I hate to lose my parent, but having them "restored to clarity" mitigates that feeling.
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George F. Will is one of America's best known political commentators. He receved his PhD from Princeton in 1968 and has been an academic, political insider and writer ever since. From 1972 to 1978 he was editor of National Review, the nation's premier conservative magazine where he worked with William F. Buckley, another conservative icon. Here, finally, is a sort of tour of America by a man who knows and loves it best. This is a series of vignettes, from Harley Davidson to ESPN, a series of quips and commentary on all that is good about America and some things that are not good. It is also a great deal of soul searching and advocations for Americans not to forget there past. George Will sets off on a sort of road trip reminscent of Easy Rider (35th Anniversary Deluxe Edition), but one from a conservative viewpoint, sort of 'Easy Rider' without all the drugs. But it is no less a statement of love for all the diversity that is America for this is not merely an examination of 'one man's America' but of all our Americas and how the U.S will continue to be a city on the hill.

A very nice book, a great collection of observations and commentary.

Seth J. Frantzman
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on March 11, 2015
Most interesting and enlightening on broad ranging topics from politics and history in and of America to semi pro and professional Baseball. Perspectives that transcend labels like liberal and conservative, Republican and Democrat.
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on April 24, 2014
It's fun and informative to see Mr. Will's great brain move from the intricate world of politics to the joys of baseball.
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on May 12, 2015
Loved reading it and continue to read various parts because it's interesting, very very well written, and fun too! I am a big fan of George Will's.
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