Monday, January 26, 2009

To America - Personal Reflections of an Historian

Due to the events of the past week, I've been feeling very patriotic, and wanted to read something distinctly... American. I found historian Stephen Ambrose's last publication "To America - Personal Reflections of an Historian" to be just such a book. Written right before he died in 2002, this short synopsis is a look back over event's and guiding principles he thinks have been key to the success of our country. A history teacher's final lecture on everything from Jefferson, Grant, and Nixon to racism and women's rights.

But, Stephen Ambrose was mainly attracted to military history. According to him, "the key events in American history were military. Winning the Revolutionary War or the Civil War, or World War II were the turning points in our history."

Surprisingly, I found his thoughts on the subject very interesting. For me, a person who has a hard time coming to grips with the war in Iraq, his brief synopsis of how and why America became a military and moral leader became more clear. This country has been forged with the sweat and blood of it's military, its citizens and its leaders.

I can't help but wonder what Stephen Ambrose would have thought of Guantanamo Bay, the Iraq war, electing a black president of the United States. We will never know. A true teacher, an exceptional guide to the past has been lost. What a shame. 3 Stars


Bryce and Mandy said...

The only Stephen Ambrose book I have read is Undaunted Courage and it was a very interesting book. I like that he brings history to life in a very historically accurate way. He sticks to facts and I like that.

This sounds like it could be a very interesting book as well. I might have to make a trip to the library.

Lula O said...

Try the Williams Library. That's where I found my copy...

It was a good book. He rambles a little at the end, but he was near death from cancer so he was in a hurry to get it done.

It's too bad. His analysis of these last few years would've been interesting to see.

Bryce and Mandy said...

That's funny about the William's library. I was going to ask you on the phone if he had that one. I thought for sure it would be one he couldn't pass up. :)

And yes, it is a great loss for us that he is no longer here to offer his insight into today's historical moments.