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The American mind

The historian Garry Wills has written better than anybody else about modern America

By Sam Tanenhaus   March 2013

Wills is an outsider: a practising Catholic, a proud midwesterner, a cheerful iconoclast who has infuriated friends on both the left and right ©  Gasper Tringale

Sooner or later, anyone who writes about America must reckon with Garry Wills. Not that it’s easy to do. The books are demanding enough—not the prose, which is graceful and elegant—but the arguments, which are unfailingly original, often provocative, occasionally subversive and, now and again, utterly perverse, yet stamped every time with the finality of the last word.

In his 50 or so…

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