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The Pursuit of Happiness in Times of War - American Political Challenges (Hardback)
  • The Pursuit of Happiness in Times of War - American Political Challenges (Hardback)

The Pursuit of Happiness in Times of War - American Political Challenges (Hardback)

Hardback 336 Pages / Published: 15/09/2003
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The Founders wrote in 1776 that "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" are unalienable American rights. In The Pursuit of Happiness in Times of War, Carl M. Cannon shows how this single phrase is one of almost unbelievable historical power. It was this rich rhetorical vein that New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and President George W. Bush tapped into after 9/11 when they urged Americans to go to ballgames, to shop, to do things that made them happy even in the face of unrivaled horror. From the Revolutionary War to the current War on Terrorism, Americans have lived out this creed. They have been helped in this effort by their elected leaders, who in times of war inevitably hark back to Jefferson's soaring language. If the former Gotham mayor and the current president had perfect pitch in the days after September 11, so too have American presidents and other leaders throughout our nation's history. In this book, Mr. Cannon-a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist-traces the roots of Jefferson's powerful phrase and explores how it has been embraced by wartime presidents for two centuries. Mr. Cannon draws on original research at presidential libraries and interviews with Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, among others. He discussed with the presidents exactly what the phrase means to them. Mr. Cannon charts how Americans' understanding of the pursuit of happiness has changed through the years as the nation itself has changed. In the end, America's political leaders have all come to the same conclusion as its spiritual leaders: True happiness-either for a nation or an individual-does not come from conquest or fortune or even from the attainment of freedom itself. It comes in the pursuit of happiness for the benefit of others. This may be one truth that contemporary liberals and conservatives can agree on. John McCain and Jimmy Carter both envision happiness as a sacrifice to a higher calling, embodied in everything from McCain's time as a prisoner of war to the N

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9780742525917
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 576 g
Dimensions: 240 x 163 x 24 mm

In this important and compelling book, Carl Cannon follows 'the pursuit of happiness' through American history, demonstrating both how vibrantly enduring the idea has been for two hundred years and how essential it is to understanding who we are as a people. Here is a history lesson and a contemplation on what it means to be an American in the same book. -- Dayton Duncan, author of Out West: A Journey through Lewis & Clark's America
In this wonderful read, Carl Cannon has charted how U.S. presidents from George Washington to George Bush-and patriots from Frederick Douglass to John McCain-have used the galvanizing language of the Declaration of Independence to rally Americans to a cause larger than themselves. That cause-that truly noble cause-is the inexorable expansion of Thomas Jefferson's 'unalienable rights' to those who do not have them. The book has a strong narrative thread from start to finish, but each of Cannon's dozen chapters comprises an essay that would be worthy of the price of the book by itself. -- Joel Garreau, author of The Nine Nations of North America
One of our ablest President-watchers tackles an even bigger subject with grace and originality. -- Richard E. Neustadt, Harvard University
Carl Cannon gives us an elegant tone poem to the purpose of the American idea. Through reflections on leaders historic and contemporary, Cannon delivers a patriotism far more engaging and profound than sticking an Old Glory pin on the lapel. He has captured something essential about the American spirit-at a time we need it most. -- Michael D. McCurry, former White House press secretary to President Bill Clinton
A moving, personal restatement of America's ideals by one of the very finest of American journalists. -- David Frum, author of The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush
Words matter. Carl Cannon tells the story of how the words 'the pursuit of happiness,' have led generations of Americans to understand why they are willing to fight for their freedom. Cannon is a gifted writer, and this is a book you will find hard to put down. -- Michael Barone, senior writer, U.S. News and World Report and author of Our Country: The Shaping of America from Roosevelt to Reagan
As a White House correspondent who covers his beat from a broad perspective, Carl Cannon is the perfect reporter to explore the ways in which our presidents have used the term 'pursuit of happiness.' Including in his discussion presidents from George Washington to George W. Bush, Cannon demonstrates how significant the concept has been to our presidents and how Chief Executives have used the term in ways mirroring their contemporary political values. -- Martha Joynt Kumar, Towson University
I intend to keep this book close by as a reminder that pursuing happiness is not a guilty pleasure, but an act of defiance against tyranny. Against a nation thus armed, terrorists don't stand a chance. -- Kathleen Parker * Nationally Syndicated Columnist For The Orlando Sentinel< *
Cannon has filled Pursuit of Happiness with lots of tasty details that make the broader lessons about politics and presidents go down more easily. * Chicago Tribune *
A highly readable and interesting volume. * The Washington Times *
In this sprawling meditation, Carl Cannon, a White House correspondent for National Journal, looks at how a large cast of notables have spoken of the pursuit of happiness during wartime. The results are sometimes surprising. * The Wilson Quarterly *

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