American Pride – Book Review
American Pride: Famous Americans Celebrate the USA
Emmis Books, 2004
This coffee table book is billed as a "tribute to the Strength, Honor and Ideals of our Country." Ms. Liberman dedicates the book to the men and women overseas fighting the war on Terror (she makes no claim as to whether it is right or wrong). While it is certainly no crime to publish a patriotic book, she goes the extra step by donating a percentage of the proceeds to two charitable organizations providing services to the families of soldiers in the military service (Air Force Aid Society, and Army Emergency Relief). Thus you can feel good about being patriotic, knowing you are helping US soldiers and families in some small way.
The book gathers quotes from a very diverse group of Americans (e.g., Barry Bonds, Donald Trump, Michael Dell, President George W. Bush, Mia Hamm, and tons more). Each person shares something profound (or not so profound) about what it is like to be an American. Most of the responses are short, anecdotal, and genuine, and overall the book does a fine job of portraying the best qualities of this nation by soliciting these quotes from her own citizens. The book is also interspersed with a large collection of photographs depicting many aspects of life in America (baseball, mountains, apple pie, etc.). The subjects are fairly recognizable people, and not Joe Blow on the street corner. In that regard, it could offend some marginalized citizens who may not necessarily be living the American Dream just yet. However, the book is meant to inspire us, and if you read through the entire book it will almost certainly do that.
Clearly designed to bolster our spirits as our men and women fight and die overseas, it provides a window into the American psyche and reminds us that despite the turbulent times we live in, we all clearly still share our love of freedom in this ongoing experiment we call the United States. Dennis Miller seems to capture the core essence of this book in his short quote. "America is simultaneously the most loved, hated, feared, and admired country in the world. In short…we’re Frank Sinatra."