Essays for My Father: A Legacy of Passion, Politics, and Patriotism in Small-Town America
In this wide-ranging compilation of newspaper opinion pieces, Muti strives to provide provocative insights into national issues, his Italian-American antecedents, and New Jersey politics. The dedication to his father hints at Muti's belief in the greatness of ordinary Americans, and that spirit carries over to his essays. He skewers both the politicians who are convinced they have the answers to every problem and those who lack the stamina to take unpopular stances, while also challenging apathetic and self-serving citizens to take an active interest in civic doings. In one essay, he asserts that national service, military or alternative, should be demanded of all young Americans, a sacrifice that is part of American tradition. Muti's tone ranges from outraged to humorous, depending on his subject matter, and his well-rounded background provides a strong basis for his opinions. The specifics of Muti's writing are less interesting than his belief in the obligation of citizens to take action to further opportunity and his faith that the gadfly's bite may prove invigorating to the public.