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America: The Last Best Hope, Volume 1

Publisher: Thomas Nelson • 2012 • 592 pages
4.33 out of 5 • View Ratings Details • 21 Ratings

Dumbed-down and politically manipulative history, civics and social studies textbooks are leaving millions of our nation’s youth ignorant of what makes America great — and leading many of them to actively despise their own country. National tests repeatedly show that a staggeringly high number of high school and college students know little and care even less about their country’s past. Newspaper columns and television reports today are full of cynicism. Many express doubts about American motives on the world stage. Some Americans are all too ready to believe the worst about our leaders and our country — present and past. The consequences for our future could be very grave. But here at last is an antidote: William J. Bennett’s monumental America: The Last Best Hope: Volume I: From the Age of Discovery to a World at War.

“America: The Last Best Hope” is a vibrant and unashamedly patriotic account of what has made this country great. Enormous (512 pages) and sweeping in scope, this first volume begins before the Founding of the United States and ends as World War I looms in Europe. Unlike modern-day Leftist-influenced histories that treat the American story largely as a series of missteps and injustices, this book is filled with the glory, romance, and uniqueness of the American experience. Bennett (compiler of the bestselling Book of Virtues) tells the truth, gets the facts out, corrects the record, and puts forward a reasoned, balanced presentation of the American story. In the process, he doesn’t shrink from any hard truths about our nation’s past; but he wrote this book because he recognized how desperately we need to recover pride in our past — if we are to have any future at all. Says Bennett: “America was, is, and — we pray — will continue to be the place where more than anyplace else, dreams actually do come true.”

This book is one of the few American histories that give us the opportunity to enjoy the story of our country, and to take pleasure and pride in what we have done and become. Bennett also does something unheard of in today’s politically correct American histories: he stresses the obligation of gratitude that every American owes to those who made it possible for us to lead free and happy lives. He details just how much is due to titans such as Lincoln and the Founders before him, and to many others who followed in their footsteps. The obscurity, opprobrium, and oblivion to which PC textbooks have consigned such American heroes, Bennett brilliantly argues here, are just the opposite of what they deserve. He demonstrates how, that time and again, our ancestors and our contemporaries have chosen wisely and have by their demeanors defined us as a people, and over and over again have shown the almost uniquely American capacity for self-renewal.

For well over a century people around the world have regarded America as their best earthly hope. After a generation of Hate-America-First politically incorrect indoctrination, Americans need to recover a sense of why the world has seen our nation for so long as a shining city on a hill — and this book is a valuable tool to help us do just that. Bennett wrote this book, he says, in order to “encourage a new patriotism — a new reflective, reasoned form of patriotism,” and “to kindle romance, to encourage Americans to fall in love with this country, again, or for the first time. Not unreflectively, not blindly, but with eyes wide open.” America: The Last Best Hope will help you find reason to reclaim some of the hope and conviction we have lost — and to help others do so as well.

Some of what you’ll find in William Bennett’s proud, patriotic American history:

  • Why the claims that Europeans brought slavery and disease to the New World are absurd
  • One thing that Christopher Columbus did not have to contend with: the idea that the earth was flat
  • The sixteenth-century Catholic friar who, in arguing that the Indians were full human beings, wrote extensively on human rights and deserves to be ranked as one of the founders of international law
  • How the fall of Quebec City to the British in 1759 paved the way for American independence
  • George Washington’s “policy of compassion” that set the standard for all subsequent American treatment of enemy combatants
  • The single thing that George Washington did that made him one of the greatest figures in world history — and the model for all American presidents
  • America’s first war against jihad violence: the early nineteenth-century war that President Thomas Jefferson fought against the Muslim hostage-takers and pirates of Tripoli
  • How Andrew Jackson courageously and almost single-handedly staved off civil war almost thirty years before it finally broke out
  • Why, contrary to accepted belief, Mexico was not blameless in the run-up to the war with the United States that began in 1846
  • Why, if the Dred Scott decision of 1857 had been meekly accepted, it would have ultimately spelled the end of American liberty
  • How the Civil War not only determined the fate of freedom in the United States, but set the terms of the struggle for freedom around the world for years to come
  • The French adventurer who used the Civil War to plot against freedom in the Western hemisphere
  • Ulysses S. Grant’s behind-the-scenes intervention with President Andrew Johnson to prevent the indictment of his old foe Robert E. Lee for treason
  • Why the disputed election of 1876 was such a grave setback for civil rights
  • The long struggle for civil rights for black Americans, from Frederick Douglass to Booker T. Washington
  • The coming of World War I: “The lights are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime”

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