I was a sophomore in high school in 1988. It was about this time I began to follow and understand politics and pop culture. It seems strange to refer to this period of time as “history”. Books written about history often have a disconnect with the reader with unrelatable places and unrelatable people. Not so in this book. A Century Turns: New Hopes, New Fears by William Bennett is a different and enjoyable look into our country’s history. A Century Turns surveys the time period of 1988-2008, taking into account the people, places, tragedies, victories, and events that helped to shape our country. He writes an unbiased account as one who was there and had intimate knowledge of the people, personalities, and issues of which he wrote.
Bennett makes a statement that a lot can change in twenty years. He is absolutely correct. He writes of the events and people of the time that made us laugh, made us cry, gave us hope, and brought us close as a country. From presidential elections to terrorist bombings; from Tiananmen Square to Rodney King and the LA riots; from Whitewater to Hurricane Katrina; from Monica Lewinsky to the Gulf War; and from the beginning of the internet to Barrack Obama, Bennett reminds us of the importance of understanding history.
I found this book to be consuming and difficult to put down. I found myself reliving this book. It was during this period of time that I was able to vote for the first time. I served in the Marine Corps during the Sr Bush and Clinton administrations. I was sitting in a college classroom on the morning of September 11, 2001. For those who have an interest in history, politics, pop culture, and how it all seems to work together, I highly recommend this book. It will not disappoint.