What Unites Us

Reflections on Patriotism

In a time of deep division and historic challenges to our democracy, Dan Rather offers a calming voice. He presents a collection of essays that help us look back on where we have been in order to see the potential for a path forward. The book inspires conversation and listening, a reminder that we are one nation after all.

304 pages. ©2019.
Available Formats:

Reader Reviews for this Book

Lowell Greathouse

Review posted January 30, 2023


I found Dan Rather’s book What Unites Us to be a very personal, genuine appeal to refocus our individual and collective energies in ways that help heal the wounds and address the endemic problems that are central to our current national dysfunction. By using an array of stories and his years of experience as a journalist, Rather addresses a wide range of topics – from voting and empathy to science and service— that need to be a foundational part of how we see our country’s future. From the touchstones he chooses to use, it is clear that Rather has been shaped by the events that were central to his generation. Because of this, younger readers may not find his illustrations quite as compelling. However, this does not make his book any less on point. Finally, there is a longing quality to the book, as if Rather was wishing for a kinder, gentler time, when our divisions were not as widespread as they are today. Perhaps this is what makes his book so valuable—we are all longing for a kinder, less conflictual world! Rather knows and we do as well that this will not it will not be an easy road ahead, and it will take a lot of work. Rather’s book provides us with the key elements to consider in the journey.


Review posted November 22, 2022


Dan Rather has had a front-row view of America. Sadly, the people that really need to read this book, will not. Hoping for a more united Country sooner, rather than later.


Review posted October 22, 2022


I got this book to share with one of my conservative friends...maybe not a good idea. Although the book was thought provoking it fell a little flat.


Review posted September 6, 2022


What Unites Us is a challenging review of American History, Civics and Political Science in a tidy travel size paperback from the Ford Family Foundation. Reader beware! You will be lured in by the engaging writing but inadvertently taught many valuable lessons about what it means to be an American Patriot. Spoiler alert- it isn’t easy!


Review posted August 14, 2022


Actually a middle of the road political viewpoint. This is the material we need to really create the change we need right now! Excellent read.

Chris Laing

Review posted July 12, 2022


No one in journalism is more respected than dan rather in my opinion. I was very interested to read his take on our country's divisive atmosphere and what he had to suggest in terms of taking action. It sits in a prominent place in my living room and is one i will share with friends so we can discuss it more fully.


Review posted May 26, 2022


I grew up watching Dan Rather on the news - starting with the Kennedy assassination, through the Viet Nam war and until he resigned from CBS. Listening to him read his book reminded me of his high moral standards, his dedication to honest news reporting and how a journalist can serve democracy - helping not only me, but millions, understand some of America's most traumatic historical events in our nation's history. He always reminded me of my own daddy - that could explain some of my fondness for him! I so enjoyed listening to him and recommend this book to anyone wanting to relive history and the present through the eyes of a dedicated, honest and remarkable journalist.

Paula Jenssen

Review posted May 25, 2022


Good read. I learned a lot from Dan Rather and found the book interesting.

Sami Allen

Review posted April 20, 2022


I thoroughly enjoyed the CD. I enjoyed hearing his history and how things have changed. Each CD was quick - quicker than I thought. The sound is low so at times it was difficult to hear while driving.


Review posted April 16, 2022


Dan Rather's deep wisdom makes him a national treasure, and this gem of a book is invaluable.


Review posted April 11, 2022


A good read.


Review posted March 6, 2022


Wonderful read for all patriots. This book for the person who wants to support the United States and democracy journey.


Review posted February 15, 2022


I enjoyed reading this book. It was easy to read and interesting enough. I don’t think I necessarily learned anything new but it felt like a friendly way to walk through our country’s history through the eyes of man who has tried to do the right thing.

Lissa Davis

Review posted February 3, 2022


Mr. Rather has produced an amazingly balanced view of this nation. Living through so many decades, he has seen changes, both good and bad, and he does an excellent job marrying these changes together. He defines “nationalism” and “patriotism” early on in the book. It seems to me, that nationalism is part of the patriotism we grew up with; yes, America was supreme, the most-powerful country in the world; and, patriotism was a trait of all Americans. But as he says, “opinions, propaganda, and superstition have replaced fact”. It seems the audacity that drove American greatness, the premise that the future belonged to the brave, now gets us into trouble. The values that drove Americans to become part of a mission greater than themselves has shifted to sometimes violent protest and the cancelling of our history. The writer-philosopher George Santayana is credited with penning the words “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” When this book was written, the term “cancel culture” had not been made popular and even former President Obama said it wasn’t real activism, but a mob mentality. Rather closes his work with a recommitment to citizenship, a compact to work for the well-being of all, not based upon where we were born. Americans cannot be passive observers. We must all resist the reactionary forces that have infiltrated our consciousness and values. That is the only way the US will regain it’s standing in the world.


Review posted January 3, 2022


This small but powerful collection of reflections truly lives large! Long after each essay is read, the author's words will keep you thinking of what we as a nation do well, what challenges we still face, and what values we bring forward for the next generation. May this book help us find the courage to do so, and serve as a guide to hold steady.


Review posted December 27, 2021


I delighted in reading this book by Dan Rather. I am about 10 years younger than Rather, and was politically involved in many of the issues he describes. His even-handed descriptions helped me understand my own development in understanding: then as well as now. I've shared the book with my children for the holidays as a way of understanding in short, concise chapters the social, cultural and factual history of my generation and the one before mine. I was reminded that our democracy has always been challenged, and his approach inspires my patience and understanding. Thank you Dan Rather for again narrating our Times!


Review posted December 19, 2021


Engaging and compelling book

Cherie Hall

Review posted September 13, 2021


This book points out a benchmark on how to heal our political differences. We need to talk to the opposing viewpoints in the room and try to understand. He speaks of "inclusion and empathy", and how we could include these qualities in our daily lives to improve our society. It speaks again to the basic values that we are losing from our modern lives.


Review posted September 13, 2021


So absorbing and measurably informative! I even gave it to my son to read. Dan is very open and honest in the work not only he did, but media, in general.


Review posted August 12, 2021


Fantastic book! Great perspective


Review posted August 6, 2021


An easy read and encouraging look at what unites us as American citizens. The writing is laid-back and enjoyable and the book moves at a nice pace and has well organized chapters. It was interesting to read of the author's experiences around the world throughout his career and how those moments in history have informed his worldview for the trials and tribulations our country faces today.


Review posted July 30, 2021


I'm really happy that I chose the CD version of this book. It's great listening to Dan Rather read his own words. He's very old (almost 90) and won't be with us forever. He speaks in a calm soothing manner, very different from the commentators who my dad used to enjoy which included loud voices and arguing. Instead, Rather spins a good story. I especially like it when he speaks of his early childhood, remember his family adventures.


Review posted July 29, 2021


I think Dan Rather has such a valuable and insightful perspective on American life in the 20th and 21st centuries. I enjoyed reading this book and eagerly passed it on to my parents, who enjoyed it too.


Review posted July 19, 2021


Dan Rather's views on the complex nature of patriotism in today's United States is spot on and worth reading a few times through!


Review posted June 27, 2021


Is our country becoming more divided? Dan Rather embarks on a journey of what unites us, and despite our differences how we can all be patriots and find ways to work together. His book is an inspiration to all.


Review posted June 8, 2021


This is a great read. I like that it isn't focused on name calling or blame, but rather talking about the issues the author sees in our country with a wide lens perspective of history. It is a unique perspective in that he has participated and seen how journalism has changed over time as well as how our countries attitude towards patriotism. He includes himself in some of the problems and comes across as a caring human- flaws included.


Review posted May 17, 2021


The book, which is split into five sections—Freedom, Community, Exploration, Responsibility, Character, includes 15 essays, three under each section heading. Each essay is brief and features Rather’s observations on the world as we know it today, how we got to this point, and how we can move forward.

Heidi Blackwell

Review posted May 10, 2021


It was interesting to hear Mr. Rather’s perspective on issues he experienced in the last that are still very relevant in today’s world.


Review posted May 5, 2021


Rather's book is a pointed and gentle homage to our country and its complicated history, present and future, and a good reminder of our recent past. He writes well, making it an easy read, and I couldn't find a typo, which is rare these days. I really enjoyed this book, and was surprised at how much he's mellowed in his mature years. I would recommend this book to anyone.


Review posted April 29, 2021


Dang. What a wonderful book. Dan Rather has always had a way with words, but I had forgotten how truly talented he is. Must read.