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Publisher's Summary

In a collection of original essays, the venerated television journalist, Dan Rather, celebrates our shared values and what matters most in our great country, and shows us what patriotism looks like. Writing about the institutions that sustain us, such as public libraries, public schools, and national parks; the values that have transformed us, such as the struggle for civil rights; and the drive toward science and innovation that has made the United States great, Rather brings to bear his decades of experience on the frontlines of the world's biggest stories, and offers listeners a way forward.

After a career spent as reporter and anchor for CBS News, where he interviewed every living president since Eisenhower and was on the ground for every major event, from the assassination of John F. Kennedy to Watergate to 9/11, Rather has also become a hugely popular voice of reason on social media, with nearly two million Facebook followers and an engaged new audience who help to make many of his posts go viral. With his famously plainspoken voice and a fundamental sense of hope, Rather has written the book to inspire conversation and listening, and to remind us all how we are ultimately united.

©2017 Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner (P)2017 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What listeners say about What Unites Us

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Hope. For both sides of the aisle.

I challenge any American not to be moved by Rather's appeal to learn from history and to embrace what made us strong, and release the fear that threatens to weaken us. If you are looking for Trump-bashing, you won't find it here; here is empathy, lessons in moments when this country was challenged, and pride in what the US has been and can be.

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Little left of my views but wonderfully told

One of the most respected voices in journalism. No hype, no sensationalism, just a voice of truth. A voice that describes events that shaped our nation, without sensationalizing it.

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Editing is bad

The editor/producer should have corrected the constant clicking sound and Rather’s voice escalations.
But still a great narrative.

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A must-read treasure!

Dan Rather shows us the heart and soul of true American values and how they are especially important to remember and embrace in the polarized times we are now living in.

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the voice i needed after that debate.

after the nonsense that was the debate, this was so refreshing to hear. it is an appreciated perspective and hope

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Thank you, Mr. Rather

I don't normally read nonfiction, but I like News and Guts, and as a writer myself, it's important not to get bogged down in single genres. I picked this up on a whim and I'm so glad I did. In a time in American history that seems dark and brim for those of us living through it, when it seems our own government is doing its best to destroy us in every way possible, Mr. Rather's essays bring a glimmer of hopeful optimism when it is most needed.

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Great words wonderfully narrated

Great words and stories very much needed at times of division of the American people.

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Steady

Loved going on the Journey with Dan Rather. Always a delicate story teller. He gave me new meaning to the word "Steady".

4 people found this helpful

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  • NC
  • 11-27-17

Well written work

Dan Rather did an excellent job in writing this book. Many great points and insights. I would recommend to others!

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Steady

A much needed tome for current time along with excellent rendition by the familiar author.

3 people found this helpful

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  • J. Drew
  • 03-26-21

Wonderful lessons for a better world

This book is a summary and distillation of the experiences of the USA reporter Dan Gardner. Before I make my comments about this book, I would like to state that as someone who works with children who might have a range of difficulties including cerebral palsy or autism, that the only one single intervention that works with everyone is education and knowledge. Some people might say that education is expensive, but it certainly is not as expensive as ignorance. So seeking to understand the world and to improve ourselves through education is a valuable resource. This book has that in spades. This is the wonderful book that talks about the values we should place on ourselves in being able to unite and understand one another. We sometimes feel that the world we now experience is full of division, extreme political ideologies and has never been so bad. However, anyone who said that has clearly never read a history book. And actually there is much that unites us, many of us share similar values, ideologies and beliefs.

The book looks at a range of values including freedom (the vote, dissent, and the press), community (inclusion, empathy, immigration), exploration (science, books and the arts), responsibility (the environment, public education, service) and character (audacity, steady, courage) and takes us through these themes to help shape a better America that is equally true for the UK and other countries. Patriotism isn’t following an extreme leader, it's about making a better country. There is a wonderful idea in this book, that whilst explaining that many who are born lucky and that those who are born into money often attribute their success to their drive rather than their luck and money, This people can often have less empathy for others born into a more impoverished state then they themselves are born to. To quote a Tanzanian proverb “the person who has eaten and satisfied himself or herself does not care for the one who is hungry.” The author talks about a wonderful thought experiment described by Warren Buffett (an exception to the above rule) who speculates what would happen if a genie gave us the opportunity to choose the political, economic and social system into which we would be born. However, there is a catch, just before you emerge from the womb you have to go through a huge bucket with seven billion slips of paper, one for each human. Dip your hand in and that is what you get - you could be born intelligent or not intelligent, born healthy or disabled, born black or white, born in the US or Bangladesh, etc. You have no idea which slip you will get. Not knowing which slip you are going to get, how would you design the world?” This wonderful thought experiment lays out a provocative case for empathy. Buffet refers to his construct as ‘the ovarian lottery’ This call should allow us to be more empathetic and benefit us with greater humility. So how would you like the world to be, no matter who, what or where you were born. So the basic gist of this book is understand your values and let’s hope they are empathy, humility and kindness rather than rage and anger. Let’s hope we can put together a better way to lead a life then one that reflects our own needs and greed. Interspersed with all these ideas is Dan Rather telling stories of his life and his changing views, developing a greater understanding and tolerance of the things that made America a better country whilst it has also shown a more uglier side (such as Trump and his many followers). Countries are not built by bricks and stone but by constitution, rule of law, traditions, work ethics, empathy, pragmatism and basic decency - and we need to cultivate these instincts and values. As he states ‘when we sow seeds of division, hatred and small mindedness, we falter’. I also loved him talking about ‘truthiness’ - that feeling that just because something sounds true, that this is just as valid as the actual truth to some, and this is infecting so much of what people are screaming, acting as a guide to some peoples rhetoric and even more damaging, to some groups politics and policies. This fear mongering, I should add, is on both sides of the political spectrum, right or left, republican or democrat. Or in the UK, conservatism or socialism. And I love one of his favourite words, “steady“. you also get a brief potted history of America over the last eighty years and more that Dan Rather has lived it - all eight decades. What a lovely, lovely man. And remember, STEADY.

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  • Diane McDougald
  • 10-08-18

Inspirational and enlightening

This is a thoroughly thoughtful and inspiring book. Thank you Dan for reminding us to never give up. Steady.