Book Review: Pop History? Political polemic? Maybe, but not bad.

I got this book for Christmas last year...when Glenn was pretty much on top of the TV news show and opinion world..before he told everyone at Fox News and New York--"You all can go to hell...I'm goin' to Texas" or words to that effect.  Oh, and hey, how did Glenn do on his "predictions"...I would say he did as good or better than most "professionals" when calling the Arab Spring a disaster for the U.S., Israel, and very likely world peace...but I digress.

OK, before all you liberal, lefties, and PROFESSIONAL historians start to snicker...think about this.  Why are the most recent best sellers in history written by Bill O'Reilly?  and Glenn Beck?

Good him, hate him or simply despise him, Beck has built a multi-media empire by giving Americans what they want...a little upbeat pop history that does not denigrate our Founding Fathers as a bunch of racist, elitist, misogynist white males.  I know it is SHOCKING and DISTURBING to today's multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, wymyn's issues oriented historians, but America was founded by those same white guys, imperfect as they were.

Anyway, this book is good, certainly for a novice or young reader...and GASP, it throws in some of the moralizing Beck is known for on his TV series...but no crying, thank goodness.

Actually Beck does a pretty darn good job on the straight history part of the book, using some excellent sources and relating some of the lesser known stories about George Washington---like the Newburgh Conspiracy {look it up}, to show just how pivotal he was to not only winning our independence from Britain, BUT keeping it through the tumultuous period of forming our republic, drafting and ratifying the Constitution and serving as our first President.

Along the way, Beck's little tales of morality are not too heavy handed or overly preachy and if you subscribe to the Great Man theory of history, he makes a convincing case that the United States we are today...or at least were until November 6, 2012, owes a huge debt to the character, ambition (if that isn't a dirty word anymore) and sense of duty exhibited by George Washington.

If you are a conservative homeschooler, I would definitely have your high school student read this book. It's fairly quick, not to complicated or detailed, and should make every young person think about what they can contribute to their neighborhood, town and country. Besides being a community organizer, of course.

Is it a typical biography? Nope, but that's okay, because biography is the one genre of history that I have never really enjoyed or studied. But it is a tale of America's Cincinnatus, that should be a model of decorum,
honor and service for our youth to emulate. Unless of course, America's education system thinks Che Guevara and Mao are better role models...which hey, I'm sure some of them do.

As a small example of Washington's wisdom, here are a few of his Rules of Civility:

  • Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.
  • Show not yourself glad at the Misfortune of another though he were your enemy.
  • Strive not with your Superiors in argument, but always Submit your Judgment to others with Modesty.
  • Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.
Sadly today we teach tolerance instead of civility.....acceptance instead of virtue...which is too bad...we could use a few more men like George Washington...