Recommended for whom?
Ages 12 and up. A fair and mostly-true telling of history, A Patriot’s History of the United States encourages young patriots to live like the founding fathers did- except, perhaps, in those matters that concern God.
(From the description on Amazon)
“For the past three decades, many history professors have allowed their biases to distort the way America’s past is taught. These intellectuals have searched for instances of racism, sexism, and bigotry in our history while downplaying the greatness of America’s patriots and the achievements of ‘dead white men.’
“A Patriot’s History of the United States corrects those doctrinaire biases. In this groundbreaking book, America’s discovery, founding, and development are reexamined with an appreciation for the elements of public virtue, personal liberty, and private property that make this nation uniquely successful. This book offers a long-overdue acknowledgment of America’s true and proud history.”
What is good
To be fair, you all ought to know that I have only read the first half of A Patriot’s History, as I was only studying for a test on American history through 1877. However, I’m determined to finish the book when I study for the next exam, because it was fascinating.
First of all, it was so refreshing to read a history written by folks who are actually trying to tell a true story, albeit imperfectly. This June I studied for a credit-by-exam test on early American history, and I was gobsmacked at the number of blatant lies in my test guide. Not only was the test politically correct to the point of eliminating key events like the global missions movement, it was also grossly uneducated about simple historical facts. Reading some of those assertions, I almost choked on my tea. For example:
- One textbook claimed that the North and the South were fighting primarily about whether slavery should be legal. Hint: it was actually about whether the South could secede.
- Another text cited clothing styles as one of the three causes of sexism. One of three.
A Patriot’s History attempts to put most of those liberal lies back where they belong: on the shelves with silly dramas like National Treasure and the Robin Hood legends. For example, Schweikart and Allen explain that Columbus did not in fact murder all the American Indians. Sure, they sometimes had skirmishes, but for the most part, both sides kept up a friendly trading business. Again, the authors don’t let the war crimes of Grenville or young American hotheads overshadow the heroism and sacrifice of the founding fathers. With every chapter, the authors encourage readers to think critically about the actions and ideas of the people who built this nation.
Oh, and can we talk for a moment about the separation of church and state? A phrase not ever mentioned in the Constitution, the Federalist papers, or even in the Declaration of Independence, this atheist construction has produced nothing but violations of the Bill of Rights and uninformed lemon tests since the late nineteenth century. Schweikart and Allen scathingly challenge the lie that religious freedom is subject to the whims of Supreme Court justices and overbearing superintendents. They explain that the right to freedom of religion (which is actually in the Constitution) guarantees that the state cannot make any rules about any religion or belief. What is more, the authors challenge the atheistic and socialistic decisions of the American government to shut Christians up about truth.
What is not good
However, for all their claims to present an unbiased account of our glorious history, Schweikart and Allen certainly do some editing and rearranging of their own, particularly when it comes to Christianity. Now I know a bit or two about the role of religion in early America. In my studies, I have placed a lot of emphasis on learning what our founders believed and how the Bible influenced their blueprint of a country. (David Barton’s American Heritage video series, by the way, is one of my favorite resources.)
Yet A Patriot’s History shies away from such discussion, instead trying to hammer home exaggerated accusations against religion; for example, that most (i.e. a select few) churches supported slavery in the antebellum south. Of course, they forget to mention that abolition, women’s rights, and nearly every other good social reform sprang directly from Christian ideals. Unfortunate misprint, isn’t it?
Worse still, Schweikart and Allen sometimes suppress truths or outright deny them: for example, claiming that George Washington did not live his Christian faith publicly. Never mind that he went to church every week until the day he died, spoke of a personal and active God constantly in his speeches and letters, and lived the life of a Christian. The authors delete all these documented facts, only offering the unattested remark that Washington was probably a Deist and did not live out a Christian faith.
I do not know the worldview of the authors, so I don’t know what their agenda was in writing this book, but I do know that one does not simply eliminate God from American history. I was sorely disappointed with the biased account of God and religion, especially since the book claimed to have the real unedited deal.
Their history text is not perfect, but next to writers like Albert Marrin and David Barton, Schweikart and Allen just might have the closest thing to historical truth. And, for every deleted paragraph of religious history, they encourage readers to do their research and think twice about what the government is telling them. All in all, A Patriot’s History of the United States is the ideal book for someone who is sick of liberal soap operas and ready to hear the real thing.