File Size: 35398 KB
Print Length: 193 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (April 18, 2017)
Publication Date: April 18, 2017
Some of the speeches and toasts are inspiring, some of them are informative, and many are both. McCullough's thrust in all of them is to stress the significance of the past as a guide to American character and values. He fears that many Americans, and young Americans in particular, are ignorant of the sort of history that can enrich and guide their views of the current and future; his fears are realized by a meeting with a vivid young college or university student who did not know that the original thirteen declares were all on the East Coast. He is convinced that not only can history inform individuals understanding of modern day events, but that it can remind people of the values and men and women that made this country what it is. In an interview, McCullough mentioned that he put together this collection specifically for these politically troubled times. At the very least they ought to reassure people that their concerns and fears have been sensed - and overcome - by many others previously.
In most of his speeches and toasts McCullough focuses on one or more great Us citizens. He is not bashful about taking this 'Great Man' view of history, because so many of the figures he picks exemplify well the essential qualities of this country. He recognizes their flaws, but additionally sees their greatness. Famous Americans like John and Abigail Adams, Thomas Jefferson and JFK make regular appearances, but so do less famous but still important ones like Benjamin Rush, Claire Willard, James Sumner and Margaret Chase Smith. Within speeches intended to commemorate buildings, McCullough also adoringly describes the rich history of monuments like the White House and Polish capitol Hill and cities like Pittsburgh and Boston.
Throughout the book, McCullough stresses many of the features that exemplified this state's history: " the fundamental decency, the tolerance and insistence on truth and the good-heartedness of the American people". Relationships with France and other countries played a critical role, and so did the hard work of immigrants. There is bravery here, exemplified by the Founding Fathers' decision to defy the King of England under threat of execution, by abolitionists' denunciation of slavery and by the ceaseless optimism of results of politicians and common Americans who wanted to change the direction of this country for the better. There was Margaret Smith who was standing up against Joseph McCarthy and said that she would not want " to see the Republican Gathering ride to political success on the four horsemen of calumny - concern, ignorance, bigotry and smear". There was physician Benjamin Rush who emphasized " candor, gentleness, and a disposition to speak with civility and also to listen with attention to everybody". And there was Adams who famously said that " truth is stubborn things". Just about all lessons for the present and the long run.
If there is one common theme that emerges most prominently from all the speeches and toasts, it is an focus on education and an appreciation of history. McCullough tells us how many of the main Founding Fathers and presidents put learning and books front and center, not only in their own evolution but in their vision for America. Jefferson once said to Adams that he could not live without books, and Adams himself told his boy John Quincy that with a poet in his pocket he will never feel alone. McCullough talks about Carpenter's Hall in Phila. where Benjamin Franklin established the Library Company that evolved into the state's first public library. When he describes it, the biographies of many famous people tell us that learning is not elitist, it is as American as apple pie. It is what turned this country into a beacon of democracy, science and financing. And for learning it is critical to read: " Read for pleasure. Read to enlarge your lives. Read history, read biography, learn from the lives of others". The same goes for history. McCullough is deeply concerned that younger Americans are shedding touch with their history. He urges parents to take their children to historical sites at a young age and Americans of all ages to read and ponder their history. He constantly refers to American presidents who loved to read history; Theodore Roosevelt and JFK even wrote history books on their own. Ultimately, he says, " the pleasure of history consists in an expansion of the experience of being alive". And if nothing else, history should inform Americans of strategies and insights from the earlier that they can follow to solve modern day problems.
The overriding message that comes across from many of these speeches is that of optimism, hope and a continuous drive in the American people to reinvent themselves. It ought to be a potent message in all of us times and really should hopefully further encourage study regarding this state's history. As McCullough puts it, " This is a history like no other, our greatest natural resource. It truly is about people, and they speak to us across the years"., David McCullough is a master historian. The speeches in this publication, like the storytelling of his last ten textbooks is flawlessly factual, detailed and entertaining. The United states Spirit is an excellent read., As always, McCullough will not disappoint. I thought at first, " oh, some compilation of his speeches and toasts, not too much here" but it's as typical with this author compelling, enlightening and enjoyable. We am listening to the music version since he is the narrator and We love his speaking tone of voice. It adds to the pleasure of the book. But then why am I stressed out after listening to parts? Because I look around me today and see what we Americans have done to all the hard work done by those before us. We've elected a clown to my job once held by men McCullough reveres. John Adams, David Q. Adams, T, Ur. Truman, to name a few. How on world do we add trump's name to that listing of dedicated, thoughtful, country caring Americans who made our lives and our little one's lives better. I was ashamed of what my generation has done to all the hard work done by these very fearless and caring ancestors of ours. I never add politics to any reviews I've done, but in this situatio it can't be avoided because of circumstances now that we're encircled by and of course this book deals specifically with American background the Americans who made our country great., The compilation of McCullough's addresses provided an outstanding review of important moments in United states history which, taken together, provided insight into how and why the American soul evolved. May it eternally be., David McCullough gives another well-researched work jam-packed with lots of detailed glimpses into our earlier that I had not previously thought about in detail. It can become tedious but is packed with optimism by showing that problems of today that appear insurmountable have been encountered historically and get over. The combination of tiresome detail but optimistic view made for really wonderful bedtime reading since i have would grow drowsy while feeling optimistic. The book is a collection of speeches and toasts given an various recent dedications and university commencements show that the author must be a very dynamic and inspiring speaker. This is well worth the investment of time to read it., This compilation of superb McCullough speeches and toasts at openings, anniversaries, graduations, etc by our greatest historical expert makes one see what real patriotism is and how sorely our nation needs a correction from the sleaze that now rules. This author has such a heavy honest respect for the true hallmarks of smart and decent leadership that one is deeply relocated at being reminded of the great voices which may have led us before to high ideals and goals and showed us how to hear " the better angels of our nature. " It should be NECESSARY reading for every school and college or university boy and girl. The author expounds so persuasively on the need to READ today, and everyone could start with this - a great present to any and all Americans., Loved this compilation of speeches made by McCullough at various graduations, dedications, and memorials. Each chapter stands by itself, and together they cover everything from Presidential stories to a brief history of our relations with France. He praises textbooks and the love of learning. I loved the notion that facts only do not constitute an education (much ?nternet site love " Jeopardy! " ). He emphasizes our debt to the men and women who came before us all and has a fairly optimistic view concerning the future of America associated with the world. Highly recommended.
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