Cover image for My America : what my country means to me by 150 Americans from all walks of life
My America : what my country means to me by 150 Americans from all walks of life
Downs, Hugh.
Publication Information:
New York : Scribner, [2002]

Physical Description:
xvi, 266 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
"A Lisa Drew book."
Geographic Term:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library E169.1 .M968 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
Central Library E169.1 .M968 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



"Some of these essays are powerful and poetic. Some seem to reflect a stunned condition on the part of the contributor. But all of them share a newborn or reawakened feeling about the country we live in -- an underlying concern for it, whether that concern is rooted in anger and fear, or in a sensed and urgent need for action, or internal correction, or wagon-circling. Some are personal narratives that explain and justify the patriotism of the writer. Some examine and praise the values that make the country great." -- Hugh Downs, from the Introduction What is the essence of America? In this fascinating new collection inspired by one of our most trusted and beloved commentators, 150 diverse Americans -- from top politicians and entertainers to firefighters and teachers -- express in their own words what America means to them. My America includes candid insights from television journalists such as Mike Wallace and Barbara Walters; politicians including former president George Bush and John Glenn; writers such as Walter Anderson and Anita Diamant; and entertainers, among them Dave Brubeck and Patricia Neal; as well as lesser-known citizens from all over the country. These frank and thought-provoking observations from Americans of every age, race, religion, and social position compellingly illustrate the American mosaic and offer a glimpse into the subconscious mind of this unique and wonderful nation. This touching volume, celebrating the similarities and the differences of a people, reflects our core values and is sure to inspire pride in America. Edited and with an introduction and an epilogue by Hugh Downs -- who coanchored ABC's 20/20, hosted NBC's Today show, and has been an important American voice for more than half a century -- My America explores the values, ideals, and dreams that all Americans share. At a time when people are reassessing their patriotism and rediscovering their national allegiance, emotions regarding the United States are stronger and more poignant than they have been in years, and this sentiment has been captured in these pages. My America is a timely collection for anyone who wants to reflect on America's past, or celebrate its future.

Author Notes

Hugh Downs, one of the most recognized figures in American television, coanchored ABC's 20/20, hosted NBC's Today show for nine years, and was Jack Paar's sidekick for five years on NBC's Tonight Show. He received multiple Emmy awards throughout his career and is the author of nine books. He and his wife, Ruth, live in Paradise Valley, Arizona

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

This compilation of essays from famous and successful individuals of various professions (writers, actors, politicians, businesspeople, musicians, scientists, and others) contains what many average citizens of this country know and feel: pride for their country and personal stories and testaments to why many love to live and work here. Readers will enjoy the emotional and inspiring essays from American stars and legends that describe the optimism, freedom, resilience, and opportunity available in the U.S. Some of the most thought-provoking pieces come from Americans who grew up in ethnic homes. Jamie Farr (star of MASH) explains why he sees himself as an American Arab as opposed to an Arab American; comedian Margaret Chow describes what many minorities experience, the current fear of being "uncomfortable behind our face"; writer and poet Maya Angelou now sees herself as "a defiant American"; and first-generation Irish American and writer Pete Hamill beautifully writes of being raised by immigrants thankful to find work in a country that does not take into account their religious or political beliefs. Other notable essays address the country's faults squarely in the face, and many of the pieces urge Americans to embrace diversity and multiculturalism to fight against ignorance and fear.

Publisher's Weekly Review

The majority of these brief reflections-many from such musicians, politicians, actors and celebrities as Walter Cronkite, Jesse Ventura and Maya Angelou-speak in often idealistic generalizations about freedom, diversity, opportunity and justice-what America is in principle though not always in practice. Some tell personal stories of how immigrant parents came to America to offer their children a brighter future. Michael Eisner, CEO of Disney, praises the First Amendment to the Constitution; thriller author Stephen Coonts writes of the right to bear arms and finds that "the symbol of all that is American is our freedom to fly"; singer Al Martino tells of his reverence for the flag; Donald Trump praises America's intelligence and bravery. Ultimately, what is left out of these reflections gathered by beloved television commentator and author Downs (Yours Truly Hugh Downs, etc.) is the full scope that the "all walks of life" of the subtitle promises. There is one New York City nurse and one schoolteacher and one firefighter; however, the other contributors are on the top rung of the status ladder: not just businessmen but CEOs, not just scientists but Nobel Prize winners. This collection could have been more thought-provoking had it included more of the diversity the contributors talk about. Readers may wonder where the voices of Barbara Ehrenreich's nickel and dimed are and what America might mean to them. (Oct. 2) Forecast: This will no doubt be a successful post-September 11 and holiday gift title, given its inspirational tone and Hugh Downs's celebrity. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-Actors, authors, academicians, artists, astronauts, and athletes are among those who offer these brief accounts. Other contributors are cartoonists, comedians, columnists, counselors, coaches, clergy, entertainers, everyday workers, and elected officials, including the President's father and brother. They are an alliterative and illustrious list of mostly males and many second-generation Americans with a special appreciation of citizenship. The essayists are identified by name and vocation; they express their provocative thoughts with anecdotes, platitudes, dogma, or black-and-white cartoons. The name recognition and brevity will attract readers, but the real draw is the subject matter. YAs will be able to sort through or confirm their feelings about patriotism, purpose, and survival. If they lend an ear to the words of their fellow and more-experienced countrymen, conversations may ensue with other YAs, teachers, or parents, bringing a sense of historical ownership within reach.-Karen Sokol, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
1. Alan Aldap. 11
2. Buzz Aldrinp. 13
3. Shaun Alexanderp. 15
4. Lincoln Almondp. 16
5. Bill Andersonp. 17
6. Walter Andersonp. 19
7. Maya Angeloup. 21
8. Piers Anthonyp. 22
9. Desi Arnaz Jr.p. 24
10. Robert Ballardp. 26
11. Lisa Beamerp. 27
12. Yogi Berrap. 29
13. Bruce C. Birchp. 31
14. Michael Bloombergp. 33
15. Barbara Taylor Bradfordp. 35
16. David Brennerp. 36
17. Dave Brubeckp. 38
18. Art Buchwaldp. 39
19. George Bushp. 40
20. Jeb Bushp. 42
21. Benjamin J. Cayetanop. 44
22. Margaret Chop. 46
23. Dick Clarkp. 48
24. Jerry Colangelop. 49
25. Stephen Coontsp. 50
26. Catherine Crierp. 52
27. Walter Cronkitep. 54
28. Vincent Curciop. 56
29. Charlie Danielsp. 57
30. Michael E. DeBakeyp. 59
31. Mark DeCarlop. 61
32. Alan Dershowitzp. 64
33. Anita Diamantp. 66
34. Phyllis Dillerp. 67
35. Peter C. Dohertyp. 68
36. Duffy Dyerp. 70
37. Michael D. Eisnerp. 72
38. John Englerp. 73
39. Steven Englundp. 75
40. Barbara Fairchildp. 77
41. Jamie Farrp. 78
42. Mike Farrellp. 79
43. Jose Felicianop. 81
44. Steve Forbesp. 82
45. M. J. "Mike" Foster Jr.p. 84
46. Dan Gablep. 85
47. Joe Garagiolap. 86
48. Art Garfunkelp. 88
49. Leeza Gibbonsp. 89
50. Nikki Giovannip. 92
51. Marvin J. Girouardp. 93
52. John Glennp. 95
53. Andrew J. Goodpasterp. 96
54. Otto Grahamp. 97
55. Gordon A. Haalandp. 99
56. Alexander M. Haig Jr.p. 101
57. Pete Hamillp. 102
58. Barry Hantmanp. 105
59. Charles B. Harmonp. 106
60. Paul Harveyp. 109
61. Tony Hillermanp. 111
62. John Hoevenp. 113
63. Jayne Howard-Feldmanp. 114
64. Mike Huckabeep. 116
65. Janice Huffp. 117
66. Jon M. Huntsmanp. 119
67. Janis Ianp. 121
68. Bil Keanep. 122
69. Frank Keatingp. 123
70. Kitty Kelleyp. 125
71. Coretta Scott Kingp. 127
72. Howard Kisselp. 129
73. Rebecca Kollsp. 131
74. Michael Kordap. 133
75. Gunta Krasts-Voutyrasp. 135
76. Richard D. Lammp. 138
77. Frances Langfordp. 140
78. Anthony Lewisp. 142
79. Joseph Liebermanp. 144
80. Art Linkletterp. 146
81. Dick Locherp. 148
82. Anne Graham Lotzp. 149
83. Frank G. Mancusop. 151
84. Al Martinop. 153
85. Peter Maxp. 154
86. Theodore E. McCarrickp. 156
87. Colman McCarthyp. 158
88. Mike McCurryp. 160
89. Jayne Meadowsp. 161
90. Howard M. Metzenbaump. 162
91. Kate Mulgrewp. 164
92. John J. Nancep. 165
93. Patricia Nealp. 167
94. Robert Novakp. 168
95. Michele O'Brienp. 170
96. George A. Olahp. 172
97. Norman Ornsteinp. 173
98. Steve Osunsamip. 175
99. Bill Owensp. 176
100. Jack Paarp. 177
101. George E. Patakip. 180
102. Ross Perotp. 182
103. Regis Philbinp. 186
104. George Pickettp. 187
105. Stanley B. Prusinerp. 189
106. Sally Quinnp. 192
107. Sally Jesse Raphaelp. 194
108. Ann W. Richardsp. 196
109. Oral Robertsp. 198
110. Cliff Robertsonp. 200
111. Ned Roremp. 201
112. John G. Rowlandp. 202
113. Mark Russellp. 203
114. George H. Ryanp. 205
115. Diane Sawyerp. 206
116. Laura Schlessingerp. 207
117. Harrison H. Schmittp. 209
118. Patricia S. Schroederp. 211
119. Charles E. Schumerp. 212
120. Diana L. Schwarzbeinp. 214
121. Willard Scottp. 215
122. Winston E. Scottp. 217
123. William Shatnerp. 219
124. Artie Shawp. 221
125. Jackie W. Sherrillp. 222
126. Paul Simonp. 223
127. Nancy Snydermanp. 225
128. Mary Sojournerp. 229
129. Billy Squierp. 230
130. Maureen Stapletonp. 231
131. John Stosselp. 232
132. Maireid Sullivanp. 234
133. Karen Tates-Dentonp. 236
134. Edward Tellerp. 237
135. Helen Thomasp. 238
136. Dick Thornburghp. 240
137. Donald Trumpp. 242
138. Stansfield Turnerp. 243
139. Greta Van Susterenp. 244
140. Jesse Venturap. 245
141. Thomas J. Vilsackp. 246
142. Mort Walkerp. 247
143. Mike Wallacep. 248
144. Barbara Waltersp. 250
145. Tina Wessonp. 252
146. Curtis Wilkiep. 253
147. Roger Williamsp. 255
148. Dan Woodingp. 256
149. David Wrightp. 258
150. Lucy Yangp. 260
Endnotep. 263

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