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The Moral Compass


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William J. Bennett served as Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President George H. W. Bush and as Secretary of Education and Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities under President Reagan. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from Williams College, a doctorate in political philosophy from the University of Texas, and a law degree from Harvard. He is the author of such bestselling books as The Educated Child, The Death of Outrage, The Book of Virtues, and the two-volume series America: The Last Best Hope. Dr. Bennett is the former host of the nationally syndicated radio show Bill Bennett's Morning in America and the current host of the popular podcast, The Bill Bennett Show. He is also the Washington Fellow of the Claremont Institute and a regular contributor to CNN. He, his wife, Elayne, and their two sons, John and Joseph, live in Maryland.


In this companion volume to The Book of Virtues (LJ 11/1/93), former Secretary of Education Bennett hopes to keep the needle of America's moral compass pointing always to the straight and narrow. Believing that learning to be virtuous is a lifelong journey, Bennett has provided a kind of moral travel guide and map through each territory‘childhood, adolescence, adulthood‘along the way. Selections range from Eudora Welty's touching story "A Worn Path" (childhood) to the Cinderella-like East European folk tale "The Twelve Months" (adolescence) to the overwrought tale of Monica, the mother of St. Augustine (adulthood). Bennett's certainty about the principles of right and wrong allow no room for the complexities inherent in the struggle to be virtuous. Even so, his books have been popular precisely because of this moral nostalgia and simplicity, so demand for this title is likely to be high. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/95.]‘ Henry L. Carrigan Jr., Westerville P.L., Ohio

Like Bennett's bestselling Book of Virtues, this volume gathers hundreds of stories, poems and essays that defend or illustrate virtue and family values. Quoting Flannery O'Connor, Bennett states the book's purpose: ``You have to push as hard as the age that pushes against you.'' Compass, just as portly as its predecessor, is arranged by seven life stages and challenges: the child at home and at school; the adult in need of perseverance, compassion, family fidelity, community, responsibility and faith in God. Selections, ranging in length from just a few lines to over 15 pages, come mostly from times when masculine virtue was considered the norm and men took center stage. Most are from European or Western culture, but a not inconsiderable number are drawn from African, Asian and Latin American traditions. (Oct.)

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