Top positive review
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Thoughtful, insightful, lots of big words
on 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:
2. Paths to the Present
4. Sensibilities and Sensitivities
7. The Game
9. Matters of Life and Death