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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

To America: Personal Reflections of a Historian by Stephen E. Ambrose

To America: Personal Reflections of a Historian wanders and meanders its way through American history and, while this may bother others, personally, I love it. For me, it was as if I were able to sit and listen in on a conversation with a master story-teller.

Ambrose discusses such things as the hypocrisy of Jefferson ('unalienable rights?' for all men - how about your own slaves?) and most of the Founding Fathers - but still he does not just topple them for their hypocrisy - he also points out, with wonder, that they accomplished the near-impossible. He also notes the seeds for social change that they all planted, such as universal education (Jefferson). In fact, he directly confronts the 'but he was a slaveholder' mentality - acknowledge the terrible fault - in fact, insist on acknowledging it. But, judge them by the whole of their work.

Stephen E. Ambrose
(1936-2002)
Ambrose covers such flawed men as Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt in a similar fashion. He also discusses other things that he had a hand in, such as D-Day museum, the Band of Brothers TV shows and the process of writing.

Ambrose also throws in his own personal experiences - both with items of a historical nature (such as his own experiences as a vocal protester of the Vietnam War - some he's proud of and others that he wished he wouldn't have done) and his own experiences with success and tragedy.

Thoroughly enjoyable.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on May 14, 2005.

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