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