Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
This collection of personal essays from legendary journalist Rather serves to re-focus our ideas about patriotism during a time of intense partisanship and bitter divide. Rather taps into childhood memories and decades' worth of experiences as a journalist to dispel divisive rhetoric and recall the principles that bond Americans. Listeners are reminded of core U.S. values such as our unwavering pursuit of justice (seen in the civil rights struggle), insatiable desire for information and learning (investment in public libraries), and our fascination with innovation and science (the space race). Rather shares his hope for a return to a time when empathy for others is seen as a strength rather than a weakness. This book's message is masterfully crafted and intentionally avoids assigning blame as not to slip into political ugliness. Rather's narration allows his genuine passion and love of country to stand out. Many listeners will enjoy his comfortable and familiar voice. VERDICT This book has appeal to everyone, with some added interest for Rather fans and those interested in American history. ["Rather's writing exudes warmth and humility": LJ 12/17 review of the Algonquin hc.]-Sean Kennedy, Univ. of Akron Lib. © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Longtime newsman Rather (Rather Outspoken) partners with Kirschner, senior producer of Rather's show Dan Rather Reports, to explore the core components of patriotism during the current period of political tumult, offering essays titled "Inclusion," "The Arts," and "The Environment," along with "The Vote," "The Press," and "Service." Rather employs an earnest and optimistic tone ("I remind myself and others that we have been through big challenges in the past, that it often seems darkest in the present") that provides a pleasant alternative to the reliance on vitriol and irony in modern political discourse, but the deliberate tone also gives the individual essays a feeling of sameness and diminishes their power when read successively. Nevertheless, the book inspires. Rather draws on memories from his Texas boyhood and from a storied news career spanning more than 60 years in order to explore the core of the American project. These recollections are bolstered with firsthand accounts of historical events including the civil rights movement, the McCarthy hearings, and the Watergate scandal. Rather has issued a stirring call for overcoming today's strident partisanship. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* There is no question that America has become deeply divided over race, religion, economics, and, of course, politics. The polarization has become so extreme it has led Rather to wonder what it means to love one's country in this time of relentlessly bleak rhetoric and flash-point violence. The essential values that have long formed our national character seem to have been misplaced, and Rather, with journalist Kirschner, undertakes the search for those bedrock rallying points by reminding readers how they came to be in the first place. From his vantage point as one of this country's most revered broadcasters, Rather analyzes the current state of disconnected discourse in a series of reflective essays that go to the heart of what it means to be an American. From empathy to immigration, education to the environment, politics to the press, institutions and attitudes that once were unassailable are now endangered. Rather views them as a child of the Great Depression and as a chronicler of the definitive events of the past 60 years. While he spares no disdain for the forces that currently threaten the best America has to offer, he extols those who continue to cherish and protect its abiding foundations. Honest and heartfelt, Rather's is a reliably reassuring voice in times of turmoil.--Haggas, Carol Copyright 2017 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
One of the deans of the Fourth Estate defends the traditional American values he learned to cherish in childhood, now under threat in a tempestuous political and economic climate.With straightforward chapter names like "The Press," "Empathy," and "The Environment," "Science," and "Public Education," Rather (Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News, 2012, etc.) expounds on the qualities and characteristics that he believes make America great and on what must be done to overcome the formidable challenges it faces. His own profession is among those most at risk: "Presently, the institution of a free press in America is in a state of crisis greater than I have ever seen in my lifetime, and perhaps in any moment in the nation's history." Brief essays on each topic incorporate sepia-toned vignettes from Rather's childhood or his storied career, although rarely does he go into significant detail. Overall, the tone is something of a greatest-hits compilation of American civic life and the national spirit, and readers may be forgiven for thinking that the book was rushed to respond to the election. Rather stresses the importance of standing firm against a coarsening of values, noting, "in moments like the present, when our government has become erratic and threatens our constitutional principles, dissent is doubly necessary to resist a slide into greater autocracy." He also asks, "when did we accept a can't-do spirit from so many of our national leaders?" Disappointingly for one of the country's most famous investigative journalists, Rather never fully investigates anything here, hitting all the well-rehearsed, expected topics, many of which he has already potently addressed through social media. Though the situation is dire, he remains optimistic, reminding readers that "we have been through big challenges in the past, that it often seems darkest in the present." A full-throated celebration of the national spirit and its potential to persevere in spite of dangers foreign and domestic. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.