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This review is from: With a Happy Eye But . . .: America and the World, 1997--2002 (Hardcover)
George Will has written a lot of books, and this is definitely ... one of them.
What that means is that if you already have an opinion of George Will, "With a Happy Eye, But..." probably won't change it much one way or the other. His politics are much the same. His long-time concerns are still in the front of his mind. And his voice (self-assured if you like it, pompous if you don't) is as distinctive as ever. Will's fans will want to add this book to their collection. If you're not a fan, the columns here collected may not convert you.
This title helps cement Will's reputation as America's leading spokesman for (as I once heard Buckley described) "conservatism of a sort." The columns include his argument that "Capitalism is a Government Project" (p. 222), his endorsement of General Sherman's war of extermination against the South as a model for defeating terrorism (p. 71), and his defense of "the seamlessness of cultural memory" (p. 184). I was glad to see his memorable and important "Clinton's Legacy: An Adjective" (p. 237) printed here in its entirety, not in the bowdlerized form in which it appeared in several newspapers.
Given the time span this book covers (1997-2002), I was surprised there aren't more columns about the three central events of the era: impeachment, the 2000 elections, and September 11, 2001. Will wrote a lot more about them at the time, of course, but only a select few columns made the cut into this book. As in any collection, a lot of ground is covered, from politics to pop culture. Over time, many of the "news hooks" these columns are based on will fade -- if they haven't already faded -- from memory. But even then, the real value, Will's ability to articulate his principles, will stand out all the more.