Dr. Boorstin spins a Bicentennial treatise (originally the BBC Reith Lectures) out of the idea that, by golly, America was a New World. Columbus, looking for somewhere else, was its discoverer; but his successors, braving the American Void, were true explorers. Thus, ""the American experience stirred mankind from discovery to exploration."" The Age of Again-and-Again gave way to the age of novelty, newfangledness, new-fashioning. The Age of History, consciously created and recorded. (""The United States rested on the shockingly simple notion that nation-building was not the monopoly of gods and ancestors, that it could be a do-it-yourself activity."") But over the decades American technology wiped out space and time, and we found ourselves mired in the Age of the Enlarged Contemporary, with newsmen instead of scientists and statesmen as our pundits. How then fulfill America's historic role as ""a source of faith, hope, and charity for all who share the exploring enterprise""? Boorstin ventures some answers, but readers will find this largely a Source of Embarrassment.