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Patriotic Grace Hardcover – September 30, 2008

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About the Author

Peggy Noonan is the best-selling author of seven books on American politics, history, and culture. Her essays have appeared in Time, Newsweek, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and other publications. She lives in New York City.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (September 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061735825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061735820
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #278,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Peggy Noonan is the widely admired and award winning columnist for the Wall Street Journal, where her column, Declarations, has run since 2000. She is also a contributor to CBS News, appearing frequently on Face the Nation. Her work has been lauded as "passionate, patriotic and persuasive" and as "must-reading for the understanding of American politics." In 2011 she was honored as Columnist of the Year by The Week, which said of her work, "In an era of rigid polarization, she embraces the nearly lost art of open-mindedness." Her prose, said the magazine, "is subtle and striking, and the clarity of her observations can be devastating." In 2010 Noonan received the Tex McCrary Journalism Award given by the Medal of Honor Society, which is composed of living recipients of the Medal of Honor. She has called this the highest honor of her career. Noonan is the author of nine books on American politics and culture, among them her early political classic, WHAT I SAW AT THE REVOLUTION and her bestselling biography of Ronald Reagan, WHEN CHARACTER WAS KING. She was a special assistant and speechwriter to President Ronald Reagan. She is a member of the board of trustees of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library. She is the author most recently of THE TIME OF OUR LIVES, a collection of columns and essays published by Twelve. Peggy Noonan was born in Brooklyn, New York, received her BA from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and lives in New York City.

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#40 in Books > History
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Michael P. Maslanka on September 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
You read Noonan and you stumble on one of her insights, put the book down, and think to yourself "Yeah, that's right. I never quite saw it that way before." Illustration: the presidency has changed because Bush and Clinton personalized it so that it stopped being about the office and started being about them.Bingo. The passage on the messages and calls made by those who were about to die on the 9-11 flights makes you want to cry. Noonan is right: "crisis is a great editor." They said what needed to be said, what mattered, and not one of their words was wasted or mean spirited. She is fair. On Bush and landing the plane on the carrier deck for the Mission Accomplished speech, she smacks their arrogance, saying "they were looking for trouble." On the Dems and Iraq---they looked for a way to oppose it without any political cost."There is always a cost." Her tone is sad yet hopeful. Her Big Idea? Judge Learned Hand said:the spirit of liberty is the spirit that is never sure that it is always right. I'd think she'd embrace that. Give her new one a read.
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44 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Theodore A. Rushton on October 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Without a shadow of doubt, Peggy Noonan is the finest writer when it comes to describing politics, social conditions and personal attitudes of Americans.

She is a gem. This book is her eighth and finest yet. In addition to her facile intellect she presents a genuine cry from the heart about the tragedy of America today. After 9/11, Americans and the world united in support. Now, Noonan writes, "If we had a major terrorist attack tomorrow, half the country -- more than half -- would not completely trust the federal government to do what it has to do, would not trust it to tell the truth, would not trust it, period."

It's not surprising. Noonan was a speechwriter for President Reagan whose philosophy was, "Government is the problem." Now she seems utterly amazed that Americans think government is a problem, not a solution.

It leads me to wonder: What if Winston Churchill, after being named Prime Minister in May 1940 and with Panzers closing in on the British army at Dunquerque, had not said, "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat." Instead, citing his predecessors, what if he said government was the problem and advised, "Let's go down to the pub and have a Boddy or two."

True to her Reaganesque roots, Noonan still blames government. She's brilliant at this one-note song of sorrow, which makes her book very timely reading. She could be part of the solution if she'd go beyond her anti-government mood and think about how to make government effective and trustworthy again.

Harry Truman did it, when America faced much wider and far more dangerous challenges. Perhaps she's at her limit as a journalist -- defining problems but trusting others to maturely find solutions.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bill Wood on October 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have just invested the better part of a Sunday afternoon reading the new Peggy Noonan book, Patriotic Grace. Through the years I have enjoyed her gracious pen taken to topics, many of which I agreed and some which I felt she was far too gracious, only to find myself moderating my strident position. Since 9/11 it is apparent that things changed for Ms. Noonan and this has been reflected in her writing. Indeed, it appeared that everything had changed for all of us as Americans after 9/11. I remember well members of Congress standing on the steps of the Capitol affirming their love and support for America. I remember the flags, I remember the prayers, I remember the extraordinary efforts that ordinary Americans made to reach out to people whose roots extended to the Middle East. I was profoundly moved to see America find its soul when so many souls had perished. Of course there was and will always be a radical element that decides that it was an "inside job". There will always be those among us who represent the darker side of our family. I know it is impossible to win those people over to any sense of a greater good reality.

However, Ms. Noonan's call is for us to do the very thing that it seems it has become impossible to do today, have civil, if somewhat spirited, conversation. As the books unfolds, one cannot help but feel her anxiety, her sense of intuition that hard times are coming. Calling upon that great lion of the Democrat Party that we conservatives have loved to hate through the years, Teddy Kennedy (p.124) when he speaks in a moment of unguarded honesty among family, "I'm glad I'm not going to be around when you guys are my age."..."Because when you guys are my age, the whole thing is going to fall apart.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By James A. Hatherley on October 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As readers of her weekly column in the Wall Street Journal already know, Peggy Noonan is perhaps the finest political thinker, analyst and writer of her time. She has a unique ability to capture the look and feel, and the sensibility/insensibility of events, then translate them into understandable context. It is what made her a great speech writer for Ronald Reagan, and, not surprisingly, it is why "Patriotic Grace" is not only a great book, but an important book that hopefully will jump start a new dialogue about America, and what it means to be an American, and what it will take to lead Americans in the 21st Century.

It is not an insignificant note that the book is dedicated to Senators McCain and Obama (among others).

Noonan begins with two powerful metaphors. The first recounts the story of brave, scared GIs, all huddled together in Higgins Boats headed accross the Channel to their unsought, but undenied, rendez-vous with destiny at Omaha Beach. The second is an accounting of a serious (but ultimately false) bomb scare that scattered dignitaries assembled in the White House for President Reagan's funeral. A wheel-chair bound older woman could not descend the stairs until she was quietly lifted up by others and carried to safety.

In both cases everyone knew that they needed to rely on the skills and strength, bravery and humanity of one another for their mere survival. And so, posits Noonan, it is now the same in America and for all Americans. The author urges that we must all learn, and expect, to carry one another - literally and figuratively - in a post 9/11 world that is more surly, more dangerous, and less accommodating of American arrogance and hubris than in the past.
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