“A stupendous compilation of the best things said by and to Americans . . . [I] open it every night at random and always find something valuable.”
—PEGGY NOONAN, Wall Street Journal
“Indispensable . . . Should become The Book of Virtues for patriots.”
—MONA CHAREN, nationally syndicated columnist
Concerned about rising cynicism and apathy, more and more Americans lament the decline in patriotic feeling and civic engagement. Fortunately, this wonderfully rich anthology is here to help all Americans realize more deeply—and appreciate more fully—who they are as citizens of the United States.
At once inspiring and thought-provoking, What So Proudly We Hail explores American identity, character, and civic life using the soul-shaping power of story, speech, and song. Editors Amy Kass, Leon Kass, and Diana Schaub—acclaimed scholars who among them have more than a century of teaching experience—have assembled dozens of selections by our country’s greatest writers and leaders, from Mark Twain to John Updike, from George Washington to Theodore Roosevelt, from Willa Cather to Flannery O’Connor, from Benjamin Franklin to Martin Luther King Jr., from Francis Scott Key to Irving Berlin.
Featuring the editors’ insightful and instructive commentary, What So Proudly We Hail illuminates our national identity, the American creed, the American character, and the virtues and aspirations of active citizenship. Every American has a stake in the questions explored in this volume: Who are we? How do we identify ourselves, as individuals and as a people? What do we look up to and revere? To what larger community and ideals are we attached and devoted? For what are we willing to fight and to sacrifice? And finally, how can we produce good citizens?
Developing robust American citizens involves the heart as well as the mind. It is not enough to understand our nation’s lofty principles or know our history; thoughtful and engaged citizens require cultivated moral imaginations and fitting sentiments and attitudes—matters both displayed in and nurtured by our great works of imaginative literature and rhetoric.
This marvelous book will spark much-needed discussion and reflection in living rooms, classrooms, and reading groups everywhere.