I’m writing this review from the stand point of the Christian worldview.
Learning history doesn’t have to be boring. This is a good example of it. The author does a good job exploring the many aspects of the good, the bad and the ugly of American history. I loved the discussion on the Colonist’s Christian heritage (I want to add the caveat that this does not mean that Christianity was the only stream in the founding of America nor do I want to imply that the founding fathers were all thoroughly Christian or Biblical); how the original intent of the establishment clause in the first amendment was not to ban religious discourse concerning public policy; and how the Puritans actually brought lands from native Americans and even punished settlers who took lands without doing it properly. I enjoyed the frank discussion in the chapters leading up to and on the Civil War, which the author’s chief thesis was that the war really did not begin because of slavery. As an interesting side issue from his main argument, I was shocked to learn and later confirmed that the Union highest general, Ulysses S. Grant even owned slaves! Among the things that I do want to research further and confirm in the near future: the extent of naval hostilities the US was already engaged in against the Germans while officially neutral prior to World War 1 and 2, who the true FDR really was and some of his forgotten policies such as turning in anti-communists Russians back to the Soviet Union (!). Things that I learned new that I later confirmed included the following: Fredrick Douglas, after the wrongful decision by the Supreme Court was nevertheless freed by his own master after the trial; Butler’s Union General Order 28 after New Orleans was taken over did compare hostile Southern woman to woman of the night, which received international outcry during the war. There were times while I was reading the book that I was surprised (especially in the footnotes) of the author’s familiarity with the Austrian school of economics especially in light of the popularity of Keynesian economics today among academia. I later found out Thomas Woods is himself an advocate of this economic view so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. Though the author is a Roman Catholic, his work did not portray any obvious Catholic distinctive, though I do understand he has another published work on Roman Catholicism’s contribution to Western Civilization. Good book–I recommend it. Not everything is pretty in US history, getting uglier when it approached the twentieth century and beyond. At the same time, the book does make you appreciate the incredible insight the founding fathers had and what it was that informed their political ideology.