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From a World at War to the Triumph of Freedom 1914-1989

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Respected scholar William Bennett reacquaints America with its heritage in the second volume of "America: The Last Best Hope (Volume II)." This engaging narrative slices through the cobwebs of time, memory, and prevailing cynicism to reinvigorate America with an informed patriotism. Like the previous volume of "America: The Last Best Hope, " Volume II responds to Reagan's h Respected scholar William Bennett reacquaints America with its heritage in the second volume of "America: The Last Best Hope (Volume II)." This engaging narrative slices through the cobwebs of time, memory, and prevailing cynicism to reinvigorate America with an informed patriotism. Like the previous volume of "America: The Last Best Hope, " Volume II responds to Reagan's heartfelt call for an informed patriotism, telling the riveting story of the last century's great wars, the rise of world Communism, the struggle of freedom at home and abroad, and the triumph of liberty.


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Respected scholar William Bennett reacquaints America with its heritage in the second volume of "America: The Last Best Hope (Volume II)." This engaging narrative slices through the cobwebs of time, memory, and prevailing cynicism to reinvigorate America with an informed patriotism. Like the previous volume of "America: The Last Best Hope, " Volume II responds to Reagan's h Respected scholar William Bennett reacquaints America with its heritage in the second volume of "America: The Last Best Hope (Volume II)." This engaging narrative slices through the cobwebs of time, memory, and prevailing cynicism to reinvigorate America with an informed patriotism. Like the previous volume of "America: The Last Best Hope, " Volume II responds to Reagan's heartfelt call for an informed patriotism, telling the riveting story of the last century's great wars, the rise of world Communism, the struggle of freedom at home and abroad, and the triumph of liberty.

30 review for From a World at War to the Triumph of Freedom 1914-1989

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tim P

    If you're a Zinn fan, this will be the worst book you have ever read. Bennett focuses on American History from a reverent perspective, painting it, as he says "With warts and all...but not only warts." A great read for teachers, as it's chock full of little-known anecdotes. My favorite? A "cup of joe" is named after Josephus Daniels...who got rid of the Naval rum ration in favor of coffee. My friends are very tired of hearing me bring this up on Sunday mornings. If you're a Zinn fan, this will be the worst book you have ever read. Bennett focuses on American History from a reverent perspective, painting it, as he says "With warts and all...but not only warts." A great read for teachers, as it's chock full of little-known anecdotes. My favorite? A "cup of joe" is named after Josephus Daniels...who got rid of the Naval rum ration in favor of coffee. My friends are very tired of hearing me bring this up on Sunday mornings.

  2. 4 out of 5

    John Harder

    Volume Two of Bennett’s history survey takes us from the turn of the century through Reagan’s second term. Bennett is a patriot, so you Howard Zinn fans will hate this book – if you like American you may find this refreshing. Bennett presents our history warts and all, but avoids the continual bashing that some textbooks focus. Probably the best example of this patriotic but balanced history is the coverage of the Vietnam War. Yes, we widened the war when we made incursions into Cambodia, but mo Volume Two of Bennett’s history survey takes us from the turn of the century through Reagan’s second term. Bennett is a patriot, so you Howard Zinn fans will hate this book – if you like American you may find this refreshing. Bennett presents our history warts and all, but avoids the continual bashing that some textbooks focus. Probably the best example of this patriotic but balanced history is the coverage of the Vietnam War. Yes, we widened the war when we made incursions into Cambodia, but most texts ignore that the Cambodians wanted us there since the Viet Cong were invading their country. Further the bombings were successful and helped lead to the Paris peace accords. Bennett discusses our shameful behavior after we left Vietnam. We agreed to lend air support in order to defend the South Vietnamese. When the North realized that we were cutting and running, the south fell within two years, the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia and 2 million died; all this because we wouldn’t do a little high altitude bombing. Most texts cover this incident in just the opposite fashion -- it was bad to widen the war, but it was honorable and right that we abandoned the South Vietnamese and Cambodians.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Leyla

    I have always thought Paul Johnson's American history texts were the best BUT----THIS is better! I finally know what WWI was about, and Korea, etc. No liberal revisionist history here. A breath of fresh air. Highly recommended! I have always thought Paul Johnson's American history texts were the best BUT----THIS is better! I finally know what WWI was about, and Korea, etc. No liberal revisionist history here. A breath of fresh air. Highly recommended!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Stharris

    As I read this book, I am having to stop every few pages and really consider things. This book is definitely pro FDR, pro interventionist, not so hip on Patton....ideas that maybe would not be my first opinion. I am beginning to formulate an idea...need much more research....but I am beginning to see that one perpetual theory is not always the answer. Perhaps, there are two forces, maybe we could call them Capitalistic Aristocracy, and Communistic Bureacracy, one on each side of the idealogical As I read this book, I am having to stop every few pages and really consider things. This book is definitely pro FDR, pro interventionist, not so hip on Patton....ideas that maybe would not be my first opinion. I am beginning to formulate an idea...need much more research....but I am beginning to see that one perpetual theory is not always the answer. Perhaps, there are two forces, maybe we could call them Capitalistic Aristocracy, and Communistic Bureacracy, one on each side of the idealogical debate that vie for power in this world, and the trick is to keep balancing back and forth to keep the freedom for the people. I really need a mentored approach through this study. I really no longer accept the whole, left-right, republican-democrat arguments. I think that true liberty is so much more fragile than we assume, and our only hope is to have leaders who deeply understand these principles, genuinely value liberty, and can keep the precarious balance aligned.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Bennett's narrative of America's history and its world role slows in Vol. 2 to concentrate exclusively on the 20th century between WWI and the end of Reagan's presidency. Again, Bennett freely acknowledges his own closeness to the later events he describes as Reagan's secretary of education. He acknowledges explicitly his admiration for Reagan and his ideological convictions. Admitting one's bias is important in any work of history, and it is necessary for the reader to take this — as well as Be Bennett's narrative of America's history and its world role slows in Vol. 2 to concentrate exclusively on the 20th century between WWI and the end of Reagan's presidency. Again, Bennett freely acknowledges his own closeness to the later events he describes as Reagan's secretary of education. He acknowledges explicitly his admiration for Reagan and his ideological convictions. Admitting one's bias is important in any work of history, and it is necessary for the reader to take this — as well as Bennett's 'world's last best hope' thesis — into account when reading. Agree with that thesis or not, Bennett makes a detailed, rational, and powerful case when it comes to the 20th century.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Camilla

    Just as excellent as the first, with most of the 20th century's events discussed. A healthy section was dedicated to Ronald Reagan' presidency, which was just fine with me. I loved the exciting stories of what happened in our country and how our leaders chose to act. The civil rights movement was such a noble cause, and there were so many assassination victims who died fighting for a just cause that would not be undone by violent and cowardly acts of a racist subpopulation. I am especially grate Just as excellent as the first, with most of the 20th century's events discussed. A healthy section was dedicated to Ronald Reagan' presidency, which was just fine with me. I loved the exciting stories of what happened in our country and how our leaders chose to act. The civil rights movement was such a noble cause, and there were so many assassination victims who died fighting for a just cause that would not be undone by violent and cowardly acts of a racist subpopulation. I am especially grateful to those people and to the cause they supported. Whenever I hear that X cause is "the new civil rights", I get irritated. No political issue we face today comes close to the importance and significance of the actual civil right issue. Even when people try to compare it to trans rights by pointing out the discrimination and violence enacted upon those people, I can't get onboard with comparing it to civil rights. Yes, there are individual people who are full of so much vitriol that they will act hatefully toward transgender people, but any violent act they take is against the law and the majority of society will condemn such behavior. There is not an institutionalized, government-sanctioned, nation-wide endeavor to do behave in such a way, which is a significant difference of the civil rights movements and demonstrates why the civil rights fight was so important and why the hateful behavior leading up to its necessity was so insidious. I believe we have noble and important fights to fight in today's America, but I believe the civil rights movement should be revered and understood as the unique cause that it was. Any comparison to today's issues cheapens what that just cause was and why it was so important in order to provide equal rights under the law for every citizen. I wish the first world war had been covered more extensively, but in keeping with the book's theme, we really only learn about America's involvement in the war. Overall, the book read like an incredible story with highs and lows and real conflicts of conscience and national action. I am so happy there is a third installment coming up.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cody

    I started listening to this audiobook just after the new year started. For the most part, I've only listened to it on the short drives around town (5-10 minutes at a time). I was surprised at how easy it was to stay within the narrative despite listening to it only in short chunks. I recommend this method if you don't have a long commute, and nonfiction seems to be appropriate for this method. One of the best parts of this audiobook is the inclusion of clips of original speeches and statements fr I started listening to this audiobook just after the new year started. For the most part, I've only listened to it on the short drives around town (5-10 minutes at a time). I was surprised at how easy it was to stay within the narrative despite listening to it only in short chunks. I recommend this method if you don't have a long commute, and nonfiction seems to be appropriate for this method. One of the best parts of this audiobook is the inclusion of clips of original speeches and statements from our nation's (and the world's) history. From FDR's "Four Freedoms" speech to Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, and including Ronald Reagan's honoring of the Challenger heroes. The speeches are not in their entirety, but no American should grow up without hearing these words spoken by those who delivered them. A transcript simply won't do. The narration and production quality were excellent, but there were a few times when the narrator would impersonate someone (Ronald Reagan, for instance) that seemed unnecessary. They were pretty good impersonations to be honest, but perhaps not best for this type of book. For the book itself, it was a very balanced and easy-to-follow narrative of the United States from the beginning of World War I until 1989. One can definitely tell that this project is a reaction against history books that paint America in a negative light. I believe the book has been described as "American History, warts and all" instead of "warts...that's all." It's a fair description, but perhaps necessary. There are also moments when it's obvious that the author is a huge fan of Reagan (which gets a little old, even if you like Reagan). Overall, though, I recommend this book for anyone who wants a good overview of American history. It's a reminder (perhaps needed now more than ever) that the American experiment is still a noble enterprise.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca The Files of Mrs. E,

    So I love William Bennett and I love history so honestly it's no surprise that I loved this book. Bennett does such a great job traveling through the story of America. While celebrating America, he doesn't shy away from the less glorious parts. He also gives enough background and explanation that you can see the cause and effect throughout the decades. And with Bennett's conversational style I felt like I could hear him just telling the story of America. It's perfect for anyone looking to better So I love William Bennett and I love history so honestly it's no surprise that I loved this book. Bennett does such a great job traveling through the story of America. While celebrating America, he doesn't shy away from the less glorious parts. He also gives enough background and explanation that you can see the cause and effect throughout the decades. And with Bennett's conversational style I felt like I could hear him just telling the story of America. It's perfect for anyone looking to better understand our nation's history.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Denise K

    I really enjoyed both volumes of this! Bennett is very thorough and really does a great job of bringing of showing us that the great (and terrible) figures from history are human, and just like the rest of us. I found my opinions of some events and people challenged and sometimes changed as I went through. He also does a very good job of incorporating world events into US history. My only complaint is that I wish there was more, as it ends at the end of he Reagan administration.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Joe O'Connor

    Excellent; in this second volume, covering the end of World War I through the Reagan presidency, continues a conservative view of American history, focusing a bit too much on elections and presidencies, but providing an overall view of the country - warts and all - in the 20th century

  11. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

    I thought this book was awesome even though it took me about a year and a half to read it. I loved the random stories that Bennett throws in; they make it even more interesting.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Natasha

    Another outstanding history book by Bennett. My review of Volume 1 of this series can be applied to this volume as well. I was disappointed, though, by the ending--because I didn't want it to end. I listened to the audio version so didn't realize how close I was to the end as he summarized the Reagan years, mentioning that Bush succeeded him. I thought, "What? You've given great detail of every presidential election, including the exact number of popular and electoral votes for every president an Another outstanding history book by Bennett. My review of Volume 1 of this series can be applied to this volume as well. I was disappointed, though, by the ending--because I didn't want it to end. I listened to the audio version so didn't realize how close I was to the end as he summarized the Reagan years, mentioning that Bush succeeded him. I thought, "What? You've given great detail of every presidential election, including the exact number of popular and electoral votes for every president and 'also-ran' since Washington, and we hear about G.W.H. Bush's moving into office as a practically parenthetical statement?" I can see now that he had to draw the line for where he'd end volume 2 and chose to end it with Reagan's presidency, but still, it made it feel like this whole American History was written to build up to the climax of the Reagan era. I'm just sharing with you my "anger" phase of the stages of grief I went through as I completed this series. (I mourned the loss of Bennett's narrator in my headphones, telling a story I loved hearing.) Happily, I just discovered there is now a Volume 3 to this series, but I notice it is not on Audible or in my library so I may have to resort to Amazon. But the cynical part of me is wondering if it will be worth it since I've lived through the last 25 years and I have a good idea of the story Volume 3 will tell and I'm not sure if I want to hear it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    PJ Wenzel

    I really enjoyed this book. I had read volume I years ago, and this was just as enjoyable. I didn't read the entire thing - I spent the majority of my time on the first 350 pages, and focused on pre-WWI and post WWII, both areas where I was weak in knowledge. Bennett is a very good writer, and has a winsome way of conveying history. I especially like his even handed treatment of communism in America - especially in Hollywood. This isn't the most in-depth book of history, but its definitely one t I really enjoyed this book. I had read volume I years ago, and this was just as enjoyable. I didn't read the entire thing - I spent the majority of my time on the first 350 pages, and focused on pre-WWI and post WWII, both areas where I was weak in knowledge. Bennett is a very good writer, and has a winsome way of conveying history. I especially like his even handed treatment of communism in America - especially in Hollywood. This isn't the most in-depth book of history, but its definitely one that I'd want my kids to read once they became teenagers. All the most important topics and events are covered, with the slang terms of the eras coming to the forefront so that the reader can understand the language of references culturally to events and people before our time.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Seth

    I was surprised at the clarity of William Bennett's second volume history of the United States. Bennett does not participate in any of the current historiographical debates such post-modern history or bottom-up history. That is a plus. He studies the great characters of American and Anglo-European history. He especially focuses on Churchill, Helmut Kohl, and Margaret Thatcher in the European theatre. His work is not Carlylian hero worship, but well balanced. I am impressed with his knowledge of I was surprised at the clarity of William Bennett's second volume history of the United States. Bennett does not participate in any of the current historiographical debates such post-modern history or bottom-up history. That is a plus. He studies the great characters of American and Anglo-European history. He especially focuses on Churchill, Helmut Kohl, and Margaret Thatcher in the European theatre. His work is not Carlylian hero worship, but well balanced. I am impressed with his knowledge of key civil rights leaders commonly left out of mainstream textbooks.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    Totally loved this 2-volume set about American History. William Bennett made it plain-spoken, interesting and funny (Reagan's humorous quips over the years). He intended for it to be a 2-volume but has since expanded to a 3-volume set to cover the 90's up through the war on terror. At any rate, highly enjoyable and informative read. I recommend this book not only if you enjoy reading history as much as I do but as a reference for younger generations. Totally loved this 2-volume set about American History. William Bennett made it plain-spoken, interesting and funny (Reagan's humorous quips over the years). He intended for it to be a 2-volume but has since expanded to a 3-volume set to cover the 90's up through the war on terror. At any rate, highly enjoyable and informative read. I recommend this book not only if you enjoy reading history as much as I do but as a reference for younger generations.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Urey Patrick

    A comprehensive overview - engaging, perceptive, and informative. Excellent for the curious and the unawares - hopefully it will pique an interest in an event or an episode in American history that will induce the interested and the inquisitive to seek out more focused works. Of course, this must by read with its companion Volume 1 to get the full exposure to the tapestry that is American history.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    Another good dunk into more recent history. On the minus side I saw several points where the author's bias came through. I felt that it detracted from the information that he was presenting. Overall it was very informative. Another good dunk into more recent history. On the minus side I saw several points where the author's bias came through. I felt that it detracted from the information that he was presenting. Overall it was very informative.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Casey Pettingill

    I really enjoyed both volumes of this book. It is an easy and enjoyable read. Bennet has done a great job of making this a fun read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gayle

    I finally finished this two volumn edition---these are books I will probably read every few years or so to keep the 200 year history fresh in my mind.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brian Olson

    I can't say enough about it. Both volumes of this set make the best history I've read. Its fast and engaging, honest, fair and entertaining. I can't say enough about it. Both volumes of this set make the best history I've read. Its fast and engaging, honest, fair and entertaining.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Baden

    Like the first, I highly recomend this book to the student who wants to quickly get a grasp of American History from WWI to the 1990s.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rachelle Pew

    I bought this with the first volume, it should be a goodread!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rick

    A good 'cliff-notes' for American History from WWI until the end of the Cold War. It, along with Vol1, is something I plan to re-read every few years. A good 'cliff-notes' for American History from WWI until the end of the Cold War. It, along with Vol1, is something I plan to re-read every few years.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Shane

    Volume II is a nice continuation of Volume I. Simple, clear, concise, evenhanded, Bennett relates and summerizes the great events and characters who have shaped our nation.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    Loved this one as much as Volume 1 - Once again a great history book, without revisionist history, tells it like it is with each president. Hope he's working on Volume 3. Loved this one as much as Volume 1 - Once again a great history book, without revisionist history, tells it like it is with each president. Hope he's working on Volume 3.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ltimmons

    I learned that William Bennett, the great moralist, dated Janis Joplin and oh so much more!

  27. 5 out of 5

    John

    I am a history buff and a conservative; so, Bennett's works interest me. I also like to learn than an author was on the NY Best Sellers list. And this comes in two volumes. Lots to read! I am a history buff and a conservative; so, Bennett's works interest me. I also like to learn than an author was on the NY Best Sellers list. And this comes in two volumes. Lots to read!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    Just like volume one, an enjoyable overview of US history.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Frank Kelly

    Bennett is a true scholar. This is one of the best histories of the United States I've read. Bennett is a true scholar. This is one of the best histories of the United States I've read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Loved this book! I highly recommend it.

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