What Makes AMERICA GREAT ISBN: 0781950540716 Toplink Publishing copyright and written by Bob Dowell,
The author obviously is disturbed about the chaotic situation that presently exists within the country. Thus, he sets forth to examine a number of factors pertaining to the early development of America that he believes have been effective in attaining its greatness. His modus operandi first includes introductory remarks with respect to freedom from slavery and the gradual advancement of blacks to greater stature in the country and the part played by Martin Luther King. Lincoln and the Civil War, followed by the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments are included. By extension he proceeds to include women’s rights, the 19th amendment and the lesser known effort provided by Elizabeth Cady Stanton on its behalf at the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848. He then proceeds to look closely at the earliest influences on the country’s establishment and growth. First is examined the establishment of the Jamestown Colony in 1607 and that of the Pilgrims in 1620 and the religious leaders responsible in these early days. Subsequently he expands upon his main religiously based contention and provides interesting material little, if not un-known, to most citizens of this country. He discusses “The Day of Doom” reputedly a ‘best seller’ book extending from its date of publication (1662) until its replacement by Ben Franklin’s “The Way to wealth” in 1778. The former concentrated on man’s sins. The latter, no doubt influenced by Ben’s parental puritanical upbringing, also espoused the religious bases, but added practical aspects, and later published his list of proverbs on how one should handle temperance, order, resolution, frugality, etc. The author however did offer another thought on the subject. He briefly discusses Historian Frederick Jackson Turner (1861-1932) who presented the “Frontier Thesis” that described America’s greatness stemming from an individualistic, self-reliant, democratic American spirit.
Discussion: The author’s book no doubt was initiated by the deep chasm that exists today among those who espouse Trump’s “Make America Great Again”, those adhering to the mantra that “America Never Was that Great” and the others who are between. And it is granted, the author concentrates on biblical teaching and thoughts. As such, he has presented an interesting case that for America to reach its former stage of greatness, it must return to the precepts set forth by the first settlers. It further is understood unfortunately, that reference to God and the principles set forth here and by these people are distasteful today to many. But from this reader’s perspective, let us for the moment look at a very practical account of this subject. Specifically, let’s just return a few years to look at the basics of American thought held by the often referred to as the Greatest Generation. The one that survived the Great Depression that began in 1929 and then were faced with WW II as well. A few years ago I reviewed a book entitled Bluejacket published by Radioman 1st Class, John A. Hutchinson USN. He described his service which was served mostly aboard a destroyer, but also with time aground in Guadalcanal and participation in numerous major battles from Guadalcanal to the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay. Among his other statements, he says: “We Hope to be remembered as the products of a different country and society from what the United States of America has become in the last fifty years. Products of a far more disciplined society with rather rigid moral and social standards to which everyone was expected to conform given how society chastened and disciplined offenders. The way of the transgressor was hard. We were taught individual responsibility, that evil is due to character flaws in the individual and not to the shortcomings of society.” The WW II veteran author also went on to say, “We were taught to depend on God, to persevere in adversity, and to take care of ourselves and our families, and not to depend on society or government to look after us.” AND in explanation of some of his highly specific statements: “…while I hold strong moral, ethical, and religious beliefs, I am a very private man who usually keeps these tenets within. I feel that my relationship with my Maker is just between Him and me.” Also quite interestingly and appropriately, an adage became prevalent during that war that has been repeated by many people during each ensuing conflict by those actively engaged – “There are no atheists in Fox Holes.”
Summary: Interesting, well-presented historical approach to the subject that may not be well-received by a number of readers, but surely must be given considerable thought
5* Interesting, well-presented, only slightly lacking, historical approach to the subject.