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30 movies featured at Newark Film Festival, Sept. 4-11

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Book signing by 'Hardball' honcho Chris Matthews set Jan. 15

11:10 a.m., Jan. 10, 2003--Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s “Hardball,” will sign copies of his latest book, “American: Beyond Our Grandest Notions,” from 6:30-7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 15, at the University of Delaware. The signing will be held in the rotunda of Gore Hall, and the University Bookstore will sell copies of his book at the event.

The signing is scheduled prior to Matthew’s “Hardball College Tour” live broadcast from UD at 9 p.m., Jan. 15, with special guest Sen. Joseph R. Biden, a UD alum.

In the book, available at the University Bookstore, political pundit Matthews, star of NBC's “The Chris Matthews Show,” and The New York Times’ bestselling author of "Now, Let Me Tell You What I Really Think," celebrates the American spirit.

“Fiercely independent, in love with freedom, convinced we can make it, we are like no other people on Earth,” he writes. “We are a people reluctant to fight who become ferocious warriors when threatened or attacked. We are suspicious of governmental power, yet quick to embrace our flag in times of danger. A deeply practical nation, we loom as the world's great optimists.

“What unites us Americans,” Matthews writes, “is not so much language or ethnicity, but a set of distinct notions about ourselves that comprise our American-ness. The self-made country. The constant rebel. The reluctant warrior. The lone hero. The pioneer. The optimist. You see them all in the movies we make, the books we write, the history we have lived. What stirred the souls of our ancestors two centuries ago—and all the generations in between—still does.”

In its review Publishers’ Weekly wrote, “Matthews invokes a kaleidoscope of cultural icons, including Lincoln, Bogart, Hemingway, Oprah and the Don't Tread On Me rattlesnake in this giddy, slapdash, intermittently coherent love letter to ‘American-ness.’

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“Matthews boils down this broad idea into some basic—and sometimes contradictory—precepts. Americans, he says, are pugnacious but anti-militaristic; they admire gun-slinging loners and heroic men of action, but love the little guy and underdogs; they are optimists with a manifest destiny and an eye for personal reinvention…

“The volume's vaguely populist centrism nods benignly at Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, at pro-gun and pro-choice sentiments, at Vietnam War POW John McCain and Vietnam War draft-dodgers, all of whom partake of our transcendent national essence. His Whitmanesque embrace of contradictions papers over great fissures in American politics and society, but that is precisely the point of Matthews's positive, chest-thumping thesis: it's all good.”

Article by Beth Thomas