Cover image for In search of America
In search of America
Jennings, Peter, 1938-2005.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Hyperion, [2002]

Physical Description:
xix, 307 pages : illustrations, chiefly color ; 28 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E169.12 .J46 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



eter Jennings and Todd Brewster conceived of this fascinating book long before the events of September 11th. But watching America respond to one of the worst attacks in its history deepened the meaning of their project. Now, more than ever, Americans need to treasure their way of life, and to reacquaint themselves with the founding ideas that united and sustained this country in its struggle for independence two hundred and twenty-five years ago. In Search of America explores the basic ideals that drive and define the American character. Exquisitely designed, lavishly illustrated with photographs, and peppered with fascinating sidebars, this superb blend of eyewitness reporting and history is a significant, timely achievement. In Search of America is a splendid and provocative journey, one that will assure each and every American that though the principles of our great nation may be shaken, molded, adapted, and assaulted, remarkably, they endure.

Author Notes

Peter Jennings, July 29, 1938 - August 7, 2005

Peter Jennings was born on July 29, 1938 in Toronto, Canada. His father was a reporter with the Canadian Broadcasting Company at the time and at the age of nine, Jennings hosted a half hour weekly children's show for the CBC. jennings attended Carleton University and Rider College.

In 1962, Jennings became co-anchor of Canada's first national commercial network newscast. In 1964 he moved to New York City and found a job as a correspondent for ABC. Jennings worked his way up and eventually became the anchor for ABC's nightly newscast for two years, from 1965 to 1967. He returned to reporting in 1968, and was appointed head of the ABC News Middle East Bureau in Beirut in the 70's.

In 1971, Jennings received the National Headliner Award for his report on Civil War in Bangladesh. He won the Peabody Award for his report on the Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat in 1974. From 1974 to 1975, Jennings worked as the Washington correspondent for ABC's A.M. America, before heading to London as the chief foreign correspondent.

Once in London, jennings co-anchored ABC's World News Tonight. once the show moved to New York City in 1983, Jennings was made sole anchor of the show. Jennings interviewed Saddam Hussein right before the Gulf War, one of the only western reporters to be allowed to do so. In 1998, he published "The Century," a book of photographs focusing on the American perspective of the 20th century.

Jennings won numerous honors throughout his career, including 16 Emmys and two George Foster Peabody Awards. The Radio and Television News Directors Association awarded Jennings its highest honor, the Paul White Award in 1995, in recognition of his lifetime contributions to journalism. In 2004, he was awarded with the Edward R. Murrow Award for Lifetime Achievement in Broadcasting from Washington State University. Just eight days before his death, Jennings was informed that he would be inducted into the Order of Canada, the nation's highest civilian honor. On February 21, 2006, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg designated the block on West 66th Street between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West as Peter Jennings Way in honor of the late anchor; the block is home to the ABC News headquarters. Jennings died on August 7, 2005 due to lung cancer.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Each of the six chapters in this book uses a contemporary story as a metaphor for an "arena" of American life, encompassing race, government, business, immigration, religion, and culture. Popular ABC newscaster Jennings and his coauthor, Todd Brewster, senior editorial producer of the TV series In Search of America, seek to link these contemporary stories to the ideas of the Founding Fathers. The stories include a case involving arguments before the Aiken, South Carolina, school board considering the line between church and state as the community campaigns to build a more "moral" society; the staging of the musical Hair by students in a Boulder, Colorado, high school; a Conservative Political Action Conference in Arlington, Virginia, whose members debate a presidential plan for tax relief; a marketing plan by Frito-Lay in Plano, Texas, to sell potato chips; problems faced by racially troubled Gary, Indiana; and the difficulties faced by Latinos in Salt Lake City. Each chapter contains sidebars, or "sidetrips," relating to the story's larger context, and a picture essay runs throughout the book. This journey across America is an unforgettable one, and with the publicity push behind the book's release, librarians should expect high demand. --George Cohen

Publisher's Weekly Review

Anchorman Jennings and television producer Brewster illuminate contemporary American society with six stories, set in six different locations, examining central themes of American life: race, government, business, immigration, religion and culture. Each section is buttressed by thematically related sidebars and full-color illustrations. The battle in a South Carolina town to have creationism added to the public school biology curriculum is viewed in the context of the ongoing struggle between religion and science in America, and the chapter is supplemented by a discussion of the Scopes trial, the often overlooked complexity of Thomas Jefferson's ideas on religion and state and a look at the battle over textbooks in Texas. Another chapter focuses on attempts to revive the downtown of predominantly black Gary, Ind., thus highlighting the role of race in America. A look at Frito-Lay's efforts to market potato chips around the world underscores the role of business in America and its attempt to spread "the gospel of the free market" to undeveloped countries. The presentation is highly polished, and the authors report nonjudgmentally on various points of view in each controversy. But the authors do reach an optimistic conclusion that, indeed, the principles laid down by the founders 225 years ago "still form the essence of the American identity." (One-day laydown Sept. 3) Forecast: Major ABC promotion, a $500,000 national print ad campaign and the airing of the multipart TV program of the same title September 3-9, as well as the Jennings name, will make this a bestseller like the authors' last collaboration, The Century. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In this companion to an ABC series that aired in September, authors Jennings and Brewster, who teamed up so successfully to write The Century and The Century for Young People, take the reader on a journey through contemporary America. Examining challenges to the nation's founding ideals, they focus on six cases from widely scattered locations, first as a contemporary problem and then in historical context. In South Carolina the creation vs. evolution debate becomes a discussion of the separation of church and state. A conference in Washington, DC, becomes a stage for the perennial argument between a strong federal government and states' rights. Gary, IN, is a city that reminds us of the inequality that still exists among the races. In Plano, TX, modern business practices are juxtaposed against early American entrepreneurs. In Boulder, CO, a high school production of the musical Hair provides a backdrop for a look at popular culture and Americans' methods of raising their children. Finally, Salt Lake City is the setting for America's historical stand on immigration and its effect on our population. With a number of sidebars, this journalistic account raises thought-provoking questions. The authors believe that the Founding Fathers' structure has endured and that it will serve us well in the future. Recommended for most public libraries.-Grant A. Fredericksen, Illinois Prairie Dist. P.L., Metamora (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. ix
1 God's Country: Aiken, South Carolinap. 2
2 The Colossus: Washington, D.C.p. 48
3 Headquarters: Plano, Texasp. 96
4 Streets: Gary, Indianap. 142
5 The Stage: Boulder, Coloradop. 190
6 Homeland: Salt Lake City, Utahp. 236
Acknowledgmentsp. 285
Reading Listp. 286
Source Notesp. 288
Creditsp. 292
Indexp. 294