A tremendous way to learn American history.
Recently I wrote a column on citizenship where I mentioned American History is being taught in our schools rather superficially. From this, I received e-mails asking how people can become more proactive in terms of learning history outside of school. To this end, I belong to a political book club which we started a couple of years ago. It took us awhile to find our footing in terms of organization and how to conduct the meeting but we worked it out and it is now an important club for raising the awareness of history.
The club meets at night on a monthly basis with members taking turns hosting it in their homes. One person volunteers to be the moderator for the meeting and is responsible for preparing an outline of questions pertaining to the book of the day, and controlling the conversation. The round-table discussion is perhaps the most rewarding part of the meeting as it is interesting to see how people interpret historical events.
As an aside, we encourage everyone to attend, whether they have read the book or not. The club also makes active use of the Internet and social media to communicate with club members and invite outsiders.
The following is a list of the books we slowly went through, over the first few years. Notice it starts at the founding of our country and slowly moves through the years.
*5000 Year Leap - Skousen, Cleon
1776 - McCulloch, David
Common Sense - Thomas Paine
His Excellency: George Washington - Ellis, Joseph
Alexander Hamilton - Chernow, Ron
John Adams - McCulloch, David
Miracle at Philadelphia - Bowen, Catherine
American Sphinx: Thomas Jefferson - Ellis, Joseph
Ben Franklin: An American Life - Issacson, Walter
James Madison - Brookhiser, Richard
John Q. Adams; a Public Life, A Private Life - Nagel, Paul C.
American Lion: Andrew Jackson - Meacham, Jon
Henry Clay: The Essential American - Heidler, David & Jeanne
**Democracy In America - De Tocqueville, Alexis
A Country of Vast Designs - Robert Merry
Lone Star Nation - H.R.Brands
Team of Rivals - Doris Kearns Goodwin
The Impending Crisis - David Potter
Killer Angels - Michael Sharra
A Short History of Reconstruction - Eric Foner
American Colossus - H.W. Brands
Unreasonable Men: Theodore Roosevelt - Michael Wolraich
Sleepwalkers - Christopher Clark
Woodrow Wilson: Roots of Modern Liberalism - Ronald Pestritto
The End of Order: Versaillses 1919 - Charles Mie
New World Coming: The 1920's and the Making of Modern America - Nathan Miller
The Forgotten Man - Amity Shales
The Defining Moment: FDR's 100 Days and the Triumph of Hope - Jonathan Alter
Presidential Courage - Michael Bechloss
Presidential Leadership - James Tarantano
The Case Against Hillary Clinton - Peggy Noonan
Art of the Deal - Donald Trump
When Character Was King: Ronald Reagan - Peggy Noonan
Decision Points - George W. Bush
Clinton Cash or Crisis in Character - Peter Schweizer/Gary J. Byrne
Night - Elie Wiesel
If You Can Keep It: the Forgotten Promise of American Liberty - Eric Metaxas
Reagan's Revolution - Craig Shirley
This Town - Leibovich, Mark
*5000 Year Leap - this was an excellent book to begin our program as it is an easy read, yet serves as the foundation for the next few books. It is also a book which I believe all High School students should read as it would clear up a lot of misconceptions about our government.
**Democracy In America - De Tocqueville's account of visiting the young United States is fascinating and describes the strength of our nation from an outsider's perspective. Either try the condensed version or the four volume set.
As we are now in a new year, the club has already drawn up an impressive list of books to study. The members of the club come from all walks of life, including academia and business.
The book club has been an invaluable source of information to explain how our country works, why our governing documents were written in the manner they were, and who the real founding fathers of our country were. It is very educational and something I highly recommend to anyone who is truly interested in American history.
It is interesting what you can accomplish when you allow for civil discourse.
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
For Tim’s columns, see: timbryce.com
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