A HEART, A CROSS, AND A FLAG: America Today

Peggy Noonan, Author . Free Press/Wall Street Journal $25 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7432-5005-4

Noonan is the kind of whimsical romantic who likes to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge at five in the morning simply because "it is fun." Her take on life and world events is refreshingly different from the usual political commentary. She writes as if she were conversing with her readers; unpretentious and warm, she lays out her soul for the world to see. The former Reagan speechwriter offers a collection of her weekly columns from the Wall Street Journal spanning the year from September 11, 2001, to September 11, 2002. Many of the essays address the tragedy that changed our world. Sometimes Noonan plays the role of the daunting pessimist, warning we are not safe; "we are all soldiers now." And yet, she tells us, life is wonderful, we are lucky. She shares her passion for the small and grand details that make life worth living: her "darling subway," watching Kevin Costner eat Raisa Gorbachev's dessert, meeting the pope. Beware: Noonan (When Character Was King) does not hide her political conservatism. At times her warm persona takes on a rough urgency. Many of her opinions on such sensitive issues as profiling men of Middle Eastern descent and the invasion of Iraq may rankle some readers. But Noonan's book stands out because it is more than an exercise in right-wing political discourse. It's a testimony: a record of history as it was actually lived by real people. It is a celebration of America, a reminder that life is meant to be embraced. (June 11)

Reviewed on: 04/21/2003
Release date: 06/01/2003
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