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The pursuit of happiness, and other sobering thoughts Paperback – January 1, 1978


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 333 pages
  • Publisher: Harper & Row; 1st edition (1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006014663X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060146634
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,110,596 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 17, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is by far the best collection of George Will's work available. Will covers topics ranging from the Will children to Watergate, from marijuana to manners. For anyone like myself who was born too late to understand the 1970's, this book is a great way to gain insight into the culture and politics of that decade. As always, Will's columns are a joy to read. They provide an incisive wit and an unflappable sense of absurdity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Herbert L Calhoun on April 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
Love him or hate him, George F. Will has a thoughtful (and more often than not, a trenchant) opinion on every aspect of American social and political life, especially on the state of American public philosophy and on the state of the nation's civility. The subtext of his generation of public philosophical pronouncements (via essays and editorials) has always been: "Hey, if you look at what we do (and not at what we say), we are not quite the people we ought to be (or thought we were), now are we?"

To many people, like me, Will's brand of "slippery" conservatism used to "grate on my nerves:" like the scratching of chalk on a blackboard. I would much prefer a clearer target on which to vent when the need arises. But then again, I think that is just the kind of reaction Will has always sought to produce and would be proudest of.

Maybe it's a measure of getting old, or an index of how fragmented our culture has finally become, or worse, of how poor editorial and opinion writing has become, but more and more I am becoming worried that I am beginning to agree with and think like, Will, and indeed rely on his always sage commentary as a last resort to keeping my dying brain alive.

As he notes in the introduction to this collection, essays can only lay out the contours of public philosophy. They are like vectors that point back to the underlying or more latent values and principles upon which a nation's character rest. It is not, nor can it "ever be" those values, principles or that national character. In short, public philosophers are only messengers; and no matter what they say, they are not the message: ultimately what the people do is the message.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eric Mayforth on August 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
"The Pursuit of Happiness and Other Sobering Thoughts", George Will's first collection of columns, covers the period from 1974 to 1977, when issues such as abortion, homosexuality, capital punishment, and marijuana use were hot topics of debate--Will offers his opinions on these issues in this volume.

Columns about Watergate, the 1976 election, and the new Carter administration are here, and Will explains how his view of conservatism differs from today's American conservatism.

Some of the individual people that the author wrote columns about in this collection are Jerry Brown, Woody Hayes, Calvin Coolidge, Alf Landon, Hubert Humphrey, and Gus Hall.

Several columns about Great Britain round out this work by one of America's foremost political columnists.
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