America has been ""a land of contradiction and contention, of questioning and questing, of virtue and villainy""--recapped here from Pocahontas on in textbook format and the style indicated above. Faulk defends ""hard work"" on all possible occasions and insists that despite reforms, ""People remained people. Corruption continued"" in the US. Otherwise he focuses on the glory of America's growing international influence, rather than offering a strict conservative interpretation; he finds merit in the Federal Reserve Board, the WW II Office of Price Administration, and other ""liberal"" institutions. And his defense of Joseph McCarthy's infringements of political liberties is followed by applause for the freedom now given pornography vendors. Interspersed with the chronology are one-page sketches of noted citizens: Thomas Jefferson, who combined ""idealism and, simultaneously, political realism""; John D. Rockefeller, who ""knew poverty as a lad"" (but ""the children of some of the men he had bested in business never forgave him""); and the ""meticulously honest"" Calvin Coolidge. . . . One of the beneficial by-products of the Bicentennial celebration is reportedly a higher discrimination among readers of popular history.