Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Book Review: A Century Turns

I have been looking forward to reading William Bennett's latest book, A Century Turns.   This book covers the period of 1988 to 2008 in American history and politics.  The author had a very intimate perspective into this time period as he served as Secretary of Education and chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities under President Reagan and director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President Bush.  That means that this particular volume of Bennett's history series is full of first hand, inside information.  This book follows Bennett's previous works, America: The Last Best Hope: Volumes 1 and 2.

I believe that anyone interested in American history and politics would find this a valuable read because of the primary source that Bennett is to so much of the history of this time in this place.  I found it very readable and engaging.  Bennett's "voice" is very comfortable to read.  Very like sitting down with a friend to hear their side of the story of an event they were involved in.  But at the same time the book is much like a history text with plenty of good information.  Having lived through these events I found the book helped me to create a timeline of sorts in my mind of the events that took place.  Some of the events had faded from my memory and this book was a good reminder and at the same time added new information I had not known before.  In addition the personal view of the people we see only in the news shorts was fascinating.

Because of the primary source material I believe that this book would be an excellent supplement to a history spine for an American History class for students in high school or college.  I would certainly use it to teach my own children as the part of a larger curriculum.  I believe it has value in teaching Bennett's side of the story that unfolded as our collective history.  I enjoyed his writing style enough to now want to read his previous two volumes of history.

I was provided a copy by the publisher for review. I am under no obligation to "like" the book and I wouldn't publish a review here if I didn't like the book.  But I did really enjoy reading this book and recommended it for personal edification or teaching in a classroom.

No comments: