America: The Last Best Hope – Vol II

The second volume of Bennett’s overview of U.S. history begins with the events leading up to WWI, tracing the progress of the U.S. through the end of Reagan’s presidency. Bennett (The Book of Virtues) has a long history of government service – he was Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan and Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under George H.W. Bush – and the overall tone of the book reflects the deep respect he holds for America’s leaders, history and institutions. Bennett is a leading figure in the neo-conservative movement, so his interpretation of America’s last 90 years is informed by that perspective. But while he wears both his patriotism and politics on his sleeve, Bennett avoids flag-waving or talk-radio-style generalizations.

This is a breezy, heartfelt survey, written with the average reader in mind, that will appeal broadly to those looking for an America-friendly introduction to 20th century U.S. history.