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This Noble Land:: My Vision for America by…

This Noble Land:: My Vision for America (1996)

by James A. Michener

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Being a mildly interesting contemplation of the state of American life by an old man who surely knew that his days were not long. The quality of the author's reflections and the validity of his opinions seem to matter less, in retrospect, than the realization one gains from the book of how seldom this sort of big picture of society and politixs over the course of a lifetime are written any more. Routine in the mid-century, they are rare these days; the author tries very hard to stay with large topics which date less easily, but in retrospect some of them do seem somewhat flavor of the month. As such, it's a praiseworthy book, but perhaps more to be appreciated than enjoyed. ( )
  Big_Bang_Gorilla | Nov 19, 2012 |
Michener was warning us in 1996 (a year before he died) of many of our nation's most vexing problems, and the consequences of not addressing them effectively. It is disturbing to note that most of these problems have only gotten worse in subsequent years. An unabashed liberal, he was a patriot who cared enough to raise awareness of, and offer solutions to, these threats to our country's well-being. He has much to say that is relevant today about wealth disparity, race relations, our educational system, health care, our manufacturing industry, consumerism, the value of art in our society and family values.
  mwhel | Jul 9, 2009 |
He is a great novelist, but I am very much disappointed in this "Vision for America." Although he makes some profound points about our problems, his "solutions" are no more than statements about what he things should ideally happen. Moreover, he takes a generally liberal approach while admittedly not knowing exactly how these ideas will work. Toward the end, he reveals that this book was inspired in response to the "Republican Revolution." In fairness, James Michener has seen a lot of history and experienced as many cultures as just about anyone. So he has a right to comment on the topic. He does adequately refute anyone who calls him "un-American" because of his agenda. And I do see validity in his points about the impending malaise of our economic status in the international market, as well as the strong probability of major racial upheaval in the next century. However, the other policies he advocates seem to lack a basis in logic. Universal health care is in principle a good thing, but I do not believe an unfounded criticism against he profit-seeking health care industry is the answer. His advocacy of gun control is based on commonly misused statistics and unrepresentative of the founding principles Michener understands well. He does make a powerful argument for the value of the social safety net, but against a stark picture of an ever-growing welfare culture, a something-must-be-done-and-surely-some-economists-can-do-it attitude is inadequate for the task at hand. Michener sees a noble land and no one portrays it better than he does. While he did affect my thinking in some areas, he does not have the answers. ( )
  jpsnow | Feb 20, 2008 |
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This book is dedicated to Random House's inspired editor Kate Medina, who first proposed this book to me six years ago and who kept encouraging me to write it.
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Sitting in my Texas garden as I approach my ninetieth birthday, I often reflect upon my life in the United States, enjoying what the nation offers now but shuddering at the pitfalls that threaten us in the years ahead.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679451528, Hardcover)

James A. Michener, the writer of epic, meticulously researched novels, including Centennial, Alaska, and Hawaii, claims to have lived and worked in 102 foreign countries. Bolstered by this wide experience and his status as a writer, he has decided to put on paper his analysis of the state of his country and its many afflictions. He writes about race relations, health care, education and the decline of the family in the United States, offering cogent and forthright views, and his own rather general solutions.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:06 -0400)

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