“I conceive a knowledge of books is the basis upon which other knowledge is to be built.” —George Washington
I’ve come in from poolside to write this post. We’ve had burgers, American style. My nephew’s fireworks show last night was da bomb. (Let me translate da bomb for you young readers: an old but cool way of calling something awesome.) And currently, we’re all full on U.S.A. pride. More now than ever, I appreciate a holiday because it amounts to a break. Rachel was in Park City last week—together we bemoaned the fact that our lives are jammed up with too much work. We should be reading in excess rather than amassing dollars slowly, shouldn’t we? So today, I’m celebrating my country’s freedom and some free time.
If time, time, time is on your side, here are a few star-spangled reads that are sure to make your patriotic hearts flare.
Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis
Ellis is an award-winning author and it shows. Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation won the big grand-daddy of them all: the Pulitzer Prize. Sometimes it’s easy to deify people who accomplish the impossible—Ellis isn’t afraid to expose the fact that while the founding brothers (including Adams, Madison, Washington, Burr, Franklin and Hamilton) were greatly gifted men, they also had their fair share of weaknesses. This book will remind you of how fragile our new republic was and how amazing it is that history ultimately found favor with us.
1776 by David McCullough
Is it even necessary to convince people to read McCullough at this point in his illuminating career? He’s secured not one, but two Pulitzer prize awards for his biographies Truman and John Adams. His account of the year that changed history, 1776, is no less compelling. It’s considered one of the best examinations of the beginning of our American Revolution. As per the norm with the best-selling author who makes it look easy, he provides little known detail that will prove intriguing for readers who want to get to George Washington beyond his dental woes and the cherry tree myth. (You’ll learn something of the Town Destroyer’s notable peers as well.)
Seven Miracles that Saved our America by Chris and Ted Stewart
I’m at my sister Sharee’s house for the holiday. When asked “What’s a favorite flag-waving read of yours?” She didn’t hesitate much: Seven Miracles that Saved America. She even explained why: “It reminded me why our currency says ‘In God we Trust.’” Stewart and Stewart provide compelling evidence that without the hand of God to preserve our nation, the United States would not have prevailed. This tandem author team, brothers with pens, articulated well: “No man is perfect. And neither is any nation. Yet, despite our weakness, we are still, as Abraham Lincoln said, the best nation ever given to man. Despite our faults, this nation is still the last, best hope of earth.”
P.S. If you’re patriotically precocious and you’ve read these three, you may want to check out Ron Chernow’s Washington: A Life. Who is Chernow, you ask? He wrote the book that inspired that little show “Hamilton” that everybody’s talkin’ about.