Our nation's founders were sui generis WASP, whose ethic formed the American character, and ``without the continuing influence of whose values,'' we have lost our way. In a cri de coeur written with a wit that leavens his controvertible convictions and makes this maddening book entertaining, National Review editor Brookhiser argues that current emigres resist becoming Americanized, that WASPs themselves, influenced by progressive politics, have gone astray. He sets forth what he considers to be the basic WASP characteristics--conscientiousness, industry, success, civic-mindedness, prudishness--that, he maintains, have been usurped by the traits of de-assimilation--self, ambition, gratification, group-mindedness, diffidence, creativity. WASP insularity is dismissed as a one-time reaction to foreigners, ``an episode,'' and evidence is offered of WASP adaptiveness to immigrants' cultures: absorption of bagels and burritos into our national cuisine. If America is to reclaim greatness, our citizens must be WASPized, opines Brookhiser: ``The people we want aren't permanent immigrants.'' (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1990 Release date: 11/01/1990 Genre: Nonfiction
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