My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Ambrose is a descriptive writer, and the theme of friendship was lovely. Friendship requires respect and esteem for others as people, genuine interest in their lives and a willingness to sacrifice yourself to be involved in helpful ways. Relationships described include the author's brothers and father, Dwight Eisenhower and his brother, George Custer and his brothers, Richard Nixon's LACK of friends, Lewis and Clark, various combat veterans, and others.
I like reading history, so this was good. But it was kind of a ramshackle hodge podge of bits of information.
The most compelling passage was the analysis of why Nixon had no friends:
"Another quality that he lacked was an ability to respect others....'The president went through a process of some kind that made him disrespect people. I don't know whom he respects, even now - really, really respects.'"
This is a quality sorely lacking in our post-modern world, where everyone is jaded and suspects everyone else. We must recover the lost art (a basic human behavior, really) of friendship.
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