What My Country Means to Me, by 150 Americans from All Walks of Life
"Some of these essays are powerful and poetic. Some seem to reflect a stunned condition on the part of the contributor. But all of them share a newborn or reawakened feeling about the country we live in -- an underlying concern for it, whether that concern is rooted in anger and fear, or in a sensed and urgent need for action, or internal correction, or wagon-circling. Some are personal narratives that explain and justify the patriotism of the writer. Some examine and praise the values that make the country great."
-- Hugh Downs, from the Introduction
What is the essence of America? In this fascinating new collection inspired by one of our most trusted and beloved commentators, 150 diverse Americans -- from top politicians and entertainers to firefighters and teachers -- express in their own words what America means to them.
My America includes candid insights from television journalists such as Mike Wallace and Barbara Walters; politicians including former president George Bush and John Glenn; writers such as Walter Anderson and Anita Diamant; and entertainers, among them Dave Brubeck and Patricia Neal; as well as lesser-known citizens from all over the country. These frank and thought-provoking observations from Americans of every age, race, religion, and social position compellingly illustrate the American mosaic and offer a glimpse into the subconscious mind of this unique and wonderful nation. This touching volume, celebrating the similarities and the differences of a people, reflects our core values and is sure to inspire pride in America.
Edited and with an introduction and an epilogue by Hugh Downs -- who coanchored ABC's 20/20, hosted NBC's Today show, and has been an important American voice for more than half a century -- My America explores the values, ideals, and dreams that all Americans share. At a time when people are reassessing their patriotism and rediscovering their national allegiance, emotions regarding the United States are stronger and more poignant than they have been in years, and this sentiment has been captured in these pages.
My America is a timely collection for anyone who wants to reflect on America's past, or celebrate its future.
The majority of these brief reflections many from such musicians, politicians, actors and celebrities as Walter Cronkite, Jesse Ventura and Maya Angelou speak in often idealistic generalizations about freedom, diversity, opportunity and justice what America is in principle though not always in practice. Some tell personal stories of how immigrant parents came to America to offer their children a brighter future. Michael Eisner, CEO of Disney, praises the First Amendment to the Constitution; thriller author Stephen Coonts writes of the right to bear arms and finds that "the symbol of all that is American is our freedom to fly"; singer Al Martino tells of his reverence for the flag; Donald Trump praises America's intelligence and bravery. Ultimately, what is left out of these reflections gathered by beloved television commentator and author Downs (Yours Truly Hugh Downs, etc.) is the full scope that the "all walks of life" of the subtitle promises. There is one New York City nurse and one schoolteacher and one firefighter; however, the other contributors are on the top rung of the status ladder: not just businessmen but CEOs, not just scientists but Nobel Prize winners. This collection could have been more thought-provoking had it included more of the diversity the contributors talk about. Readers may wonder where the voices of Barbara Ehrenreich's nickel and dimed are and what America might mean to them.