Jan 7, 2009

The American Patriot's Almanac, Book Review

The American Patriot's Almanac:
Daily Readings on America
by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb

“To the families of the American soldier, families who, for love of country, have sacrificed in countless ways.”

Bennett and Cribb make an excellent duo. They have paired up before and have once again proven they have what it takes. This book is designed for a small reading each day --an uplifting story from the annals of American history, featuring significant events on the anniversary of their occurrence. Each day’s reading concludes with a bullet list of other key events for that day.

The book’s introduction claims “From its beginnings the United States was founded on a set of ideals. Freedom of thought and speech. Equality before the law. The right to worship God as we please. The dignity of each individual. Such ideals, more than anything else, make us one nation indivisible…American patriotism is largely about some shining principles and the spirit it takes to make them work.”

Honestly, I picked up this book with the thought that Patriotism is being phased out. Is patriotism something necessary in the past and not necessary today in our climate of international social networking, affordable intercontinental travel, and a growing international political thought? I don’t feel like a Patriot. I am not particularly proud of America today. I am ashamed of our social decay. I’m disappointed with a debilitating welfare system. I’m stupefied by the amputation and persecution of faith. So when this book says “It’s a good and admirable thing to honor the land you call home,” I can’t wait to learn why.

Surprisingly, the Almanac does stir in me a sense of Patriotism. A sense of something I vaguely recall as honor, pride, sacrifice and respect. A time when community service, faith, freedom and equality was valued and respected. Simultaneously, it stirs up a fear, too, for what this country has become and where we are headed. The book has revealed my mixed emotions. The book is a good daily reminder of where we’ve been, what has been sacrificed and how grateful we should be. Unfortunately, it is also a daily reminder of what we’ve lost.
I conclude that Patriotism IS being phased out, but that ought not be so. Patriotism is needed now more than ever. The almanac lists 12 great reasons to love a great country and I submit that we are seriously in danger of losing at least six of them in the near future. It is time for Patriots to come to the aid of their country.

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