Wednesday, March 17, 2010
A Century Turns by William J. Bennett
-->Subtitle: New Hopes, New Fears
“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This quote (George Santayana) came to mind as I read Bennett’s account of American political history from 1988 to 2008. Beginning with the G. H. W. Bush administration, Bennett gives a fascinating overview of major events for the past twenty years. He discloses that he is a conservative and that he has worked in Republican administrations. However, I think his experience as a historian and educator helped him to present the material in an objective manner. He presented many issues from the conservative viewpoint without denigrating opposing views.
I was middle-aged in 1988, and I remember wondering why President Bush did some of the things he did. Bennett explains some of those actions, and I’m glad that I now understand those actions. Progressing to the Clinton administration, Bennett covers everything from the attempt at health insurance reform through the impeachment proceedings in a matter-of-fact way. Keeping the Santayana quote in mind, I see parallels between what happened during Clinton administration and what’s happening in 2010.
In Bennett’s account of the G. W. Bush administration, he remembers the controversy of the 2000 election, giving some background that I had not heard before. From 9/11 to the Iraq surge, he delivers a masterful summary of the change in mood from unity and support for the president to divisiveness and opposition to the Iraq war.
I lived through these times and considered myself a follower of current events. However, I gained a unique perspective from Bennett. I recommend this book to history buffs and political junkies alike. In fact, I think it should be required reading in American history classes in high schools and colleges.
Disclosure of Material Connection: As a participant in the book review bloggers program, I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers. Reviewers are not required or encouraged to post a positive review. The opinions in this post are mine and mine alone. This disclosure required by the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”