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What So Proudly We Hail: The American Soul in Story, Speech, and Song Hardcover – May 15, 2011

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Magnificent...a civic education in one volume." 
--George F. Will, bestselling author of One Man's America

"What a wonderful collection of American songs, speeches, and stories. It should be valuable for teachers, students, parents, and readers of all kinds."
--Diane Ravitch, editor of The American Reader

"This star-spangled anthology invites us to think about, and love, America. It's an invitation well worth accepting."
--George Weigel, distinguished senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center

"All hail the editors of What So Proudly We Hail!...An anthology worthy of study by free men and brave citizens, from the dawn's early light to the twilight's last gleaming."
--William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard

"A high-grade, gentle, but firm goad to the kind of patriotism a country intent on greatness needs."--Joseph Epstein, Commentary

"What So Proudly We Hail is a welcome achievement-rich and multilayered in ways that a treatise on patriotism could not be."--Gilbert Meilander, First Things

From the Author

Civic identity and civic virtue in the United States today face unprecedented challenges, making it more urgent than ever to find better forms of civic education. We must educate minds and hearts not only to enable the young to live decent private lives but also to be attached to our country and to use their freedom to uphold and improve its institutions and values.

In one sense, citizenship is a gift and privilege of our birth, as is the right to vote and to participate in public life. But voting and electioneering do not alone an active citizen make. The quality of our common life--our schools, neighborhoods, public safety and public services, cultural and charitable institutions, opportunities for recreation and worship, etc.--depend on a more robust idea of citizenship, and on people who care enough about the well-being of their communities to engage in the activities that will enable them to flourish.

The selections in What So Proudly We Hail explore both American individualism and our ethnic, racial, and religious diversity. They are both prominent elements of our national life. Yet despite our many enriching differences, there are also things that we have in common. A people that is informed by the "creed" of liberty, equality, and the pursuit of happiness and prosperity will differ from a people informed by different principles. And there are common goals that we seek to attain as a society, and common virtues that a robust citizenry will need. These goals and virtues are central themes of most of our selections.

It is important for everyone to understand the complexity of the American character, the virtues that active citizenship requires, the claims of the competing goals that we pursue as a nation, and the ways that we are and can remain "one, out of many." This book is therefore equally addressed to all our fellow citizens--young or old, rich or poor, liberal or conservative, and everyone in between.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 790 pages
  • Publisher: Intercollegiate Studies Institute; First Edition edition (May 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1610170067
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610170062
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #255,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Donald M. Bishop on September 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like most anthologies, "What So Proudly We Hail" includes the words of many famous Americans -- Franklin, Washington, Lincoln, and King among them -- but there are some fresh choices. President Kennedy is represented by his speech on the space effort, rather than his Inaugural Address. The reader absorbs the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King through his much more challenging "Letter from Birmingham Jail," rather than the usual "I Have a Dream." Washington's famous letter to the Hebrew Congregation at Newport addresses religious freedom and citizenship with striking clarity. The words of our patriotic songs help the reader feel American ideals.

Most of the volume, however, is stories and essays. They fill out an understanding of traits in the American character -- the nation's "soul" in the book's subtitle. They probe and deepen appreciation of democratic virtues such as law-abidingness, courage, civility and compassion, public spiritedness, charity, and reverence. A group of stories and essays address the "goals of civic life."

The book is nicely cross-generational. Young people will read, probably for the first time, Edward Everett Hale's classic short story, "The Man Without a Country," which has now disappeared from American textbooks even though it was read by every American student for a century after the Civil War. Older readers, on the other hand, will encounter authors who were never in the old anthologies or textbooks -- Philip Roth, Saul Bellow, Richard Rodriguez, Tom Wolfe, and others. There's plenty to chew on in the editors' selections.

Discerning readers may sense that the three editors have upright and traditional views of patriotism. They are, to use a fine old word, "square.
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Format: Hardcover
What So Proudly We Hail is a (very) thick book filled with an amazing variety of works from various sources, living and dead. This eclectic collection contains the words of Lincoln, Twain and Franklin, but also holds works as diverse as Alice Walker and Ursula LeGuin, songs from "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" to Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land." This impressive anthology is part history lesson and part sociology lesson, all with a goal of helping the reader decide what is an American.

Topics include:

National Identity: Why Should it Matter?

The American Creed

The American Character: Individuals Free and Equal

Toward a More Robust Citizenry: The Virtues of Civic Life

Goals of Civic Life

Making One Out of Many

Each excerpt in this anthology can be read independently. Entries are introduced with a short biography of the author and an explanation of the history of the time the piece was written. Each introduction also contains several thought-provoking questions. For example, George Washington's "Thanksgiving Proclamation" from 1789 is included in this anthology. A few of the accompanying questions include "In the eighteenth century, thanksgiving days were observed by prayer and fasting; do today's ritual of feasting and drinking alter in any way the intended purpose of the holiday? How does Thanksgiving Day matter to your identity as an American citizen?"

On the other hand, while this book can be read in bits and pieces, the historical introductions and open-ended questions in What So Proudly We Hail tie stories together when the book is read in the order presented. Immediately following George Washington's "Thanksgiving Proclamation" is a short story by O.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
-----quoted from The Duke Chronicle

In his 1894 essay "True Americanism," President Theodore Roosevelt argued that, though cosmopolitanism may philosophically be ideal, the age of its political viability would prove so remote and futuristic as to embrace such fantastic and bizarrely incomprehensible positions as "look[ing] down upon and disregard[ing] monogamic marriage."

As fate would have it, scarcely a century later, we have managed to accomplish what Roosevelt believed would require two or three millennia. Indeed, one could hardly point to an instance which better captures both the acceleration and ambivalence of our supposed progress.

But facts are facts--and patriotism, like monogamous marriage, is now more questionable than ever. For a culture that recognizes dissent as the highest form of patriotism, patriotism itself, in its other instantiations, is often seen as an unforgivable form dissent. Our skeptical age justifiably demands that appeals to patriotic attachment go beyond the jaded and strangely complementary pitfalls of the jingoistic and soporific.

Patriotism worthy of the name must engage the heart and the mind simultaneously in a deep, mature and lasting way. "What so Proudly we Hail: The American Soul in Story, Speech and Song," a superb anthology edited by Professors Amy Kass, Leon Kass and Diana Schaub, takes up this challenge with considerable novelty and success.

Why short stories, speeches and songs? In one sense, the advantages of exploring the complicated themes of patriotic feeling and civic engagement through the well-selected stories, speeches (T. Roosevelt's included) and songs of America's brightest lights--from Hawthorne and Melville to Saul Bellow, Martin Luther King, Jr. to General George C.
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