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Official Review: What Makes America Great by Bob Dowell

Posted: 28 May 2019, 14:46
by Cecilia_L
[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "What Makes America Great" by Bob Dowell.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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"Sadly, America is presently experiencing a time of confusion, a time when its founding principles are dimly heard by many and rejected by others. We see the paralysis caused by blatant partisanship in the U.S. Congress, where political party interest too often takes precedence over the good of the country."

Weary of the constant partisan debate in the media, Bob Dowell highlights his researched perspective in What Makes America Great. He provides a brief narrative of his findings based on significant historical documents penned by visionary leaders such as John Winthrop, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King Jr. Dowell illuminates the country's dedication to the exemplary by taking a closer look at America's foundation as a God-centered commonwealth and its commitment to the equality of all men, women, and races. He cites documentation which exemplifies this commitment including "A Model of Christian Charity," the Declaration of Independence, the Declaration of Sentiments, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address, and the "I Have a Dream" speech. Dowell poses the question, "Where is the corrective voice that can stir the hearts and minds of America back to its exemplary founding principles?" Ultimately, he celebrates the country's history and encourages readers to not only pray for that voice of correction, but for the discernment to recognize it, as well.

As the author notes at the beginning of the book, this 100-page historical narrative can be read in one sitting if desired. Some readers may be put off by the book's title in light of the 2016 presidential campaign slogan. However, to clarify, this book is a celebration of America's history of excellence; it is not a book about Trump.

I particularly liked Dowell's inclusion of the Declaration of Sentiments, as I wasn't taught about this important document in high school or college. Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote it following a format similar to the Declaration of Independence and presented it at the first women's rights conference; it was signed by a third of the attendees--32 men and 68 women. By listing different lines as examples, Dowell demonstrated how Stanton adopted her document to further equality for women.

I also enjoyed the information pertaining to Benjamin Franklin. Having taught my children a unit study about Franklin, I was familiar with many of his accomplishments. However, I appreciated Dowell's insight regarding Franklin's recognition that the spiritual and secular go hand-in-hand, as he elaborated on several of Franklin's published works, including Poor Richard's Almanack and his thirteen virtues created at the age of twenty, which he eventually listed in his autobiography.

Since the rest of the book is presented objectively, my only dislike is Dowell's placement of a few political plugs for Trump. However, the comments are minimal, and overall, Dowell delivers a patriotic tribute. One doesn't need to agree with his political opinions to appreciate it. Additionally, there are a few editorial issues; most noteworthy are Dowell's consistent omission of "Jr." in King's name and not spelling "almanack" consistently with Franklin's original title. The former causes me to doubt the book is professionally edited, as even a cursory search on Google produces King's name with the appropriate suffix. Regarding the latter, although both variants are currently acceptable, I feel the distinction is important since the book is based on documentation. There are also instances of redundant wording, such as using "exemplary exemplified" twice in the same sentence.

Given the editorial issues, I rate the book 3 out of 4 stars. It will appeal to Christian readers with moderate or conservative political views and fans of historical reads about America. However, the book may not interest readers with more liberal views.

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What Makes America Great
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Re: Official Review: What Makes America Great by Bob Dowell

Posted: 04 Jun 2019, 08:34
by kandscreeley
Perhaps the author would be better served by changing the title. Though it sounds like the author might share some of my views, I really don't enjoy books about politics. This is more about history, I understand, but I just don't think it's right for me. I'm glad you enjoyed it, though.

Re: Official Review: What Makes America Great by Bob Dowell

Posted: 04 Jun 2019, 09:03
by Cecilia_L
kandscreeley wrote:
04 Jun 2019, 08:34
Perhaps the author would be better served by changing the title. Though it sounds like the author might share some of my views, I really don't enjoy books about politics. This is more about history, I understand, but I just don't think it's right for me. I'm glad you enjoyed it, though.
I think you're right about the title. Thanks for your comment.

Re: Official Review: What Makes America Great by Bob Dowell

Posted: 04 Jun 2019, 11:02
by kdstrack
The historical aspect of this book is appealing and very necessary. This looks good for reviewing and learning new information about our country. Great review! Thanks.

Re: Official Review: What Makes America Great by Bob Dowell

Posted: 04 Jun 2019, 15:29
by Cecilia_L
kdstrack wrote:
04 Jun 2019, 11:02
The historical aspect of this book is appealing and very necessary. This looks good for reviewing and learning new information about our country. Great review! Thanks.
I think so, too. Thank you. I appreciate your comment.

Re: Official Review: What Makes America Great by Bob Dowell

Posted: 04 Jun 2019, 16:07
by maggi3
I think I could learn a lot from this book. I tend to have more liberal views, but I like looking at the other side’s beliefs and explanations, too. There’s a few documents you mentioned that I don’t know much about, like the Declaration of Sentiments. I might try this one out. Thanks for the review!

Re: Official Review: What Makes America Great by Bob Dowell

Posted: 04 Jun 2019, 16:59
by Cecilia_L
maggi3 wrote:
04 Jun 2019, 16:07
I think I could learn a lot from this book. I tend to have more liberal views, but I like looking at the other side’s beliefs and explanations, too. There’s a few documents you mentioned that I don’t know much about, like the Declaration of Sentiments. I might try this one out. Thanks for the review!
You're welcome. I appreciate your comment.

Re: Official Review: What Makes America Great by Bob Dowell

Posted: 05 Jun 2019, 01:14
by Nerea
I liked how you highlighted the key aspects of the book that would motivate the reader to read the book. I do read non-fictional stories (I'm not a fan), but unfortunately, this book is not for me. Thank you for your incredible review.

Re: Official Review: What Makes America Great by Bob Dowell

Posted: 05 Jun 2019, 07:57
by Prisallen
The history aspect of this book appeals to me. I would like our politicians to work together to try to solve our issues instead of the posturing we see today. Thanks for a wonderful review!

Re: Official Review: What Makes America Great by Bob Dowell

Posted: 05 Jun 2019, 08:26
by Cecilia_L
Nerea wrote:
05 Jun 2019, 01:14
I liked how you highlighted the key aspects of the book that would motivate the reader to read the book. I do read non-fictional stories (I'm not a fan), but unfortunately, this book is not for me. Thank you for your incredible review.
Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

Re: Official Review: What Makes America Great by Bob Dowell

Posted: 05 Jun 2019, 08:27
by Cecilia_L
Prisallen wrote:
05 Jun 2019, 07:57
The history aspect of this book appeals to me. I would like our politicians to work together to try to solve our issues instead of the posturing we see today. Thanks for a wonderful review!
My sentiments exactly! Thanks for your comment.

Re: Official Review: What Makes America Great by Bob Dowell

Posted: 05 Jun 2019, 13:10
by CyndiA1
Thanks for the thorough review. I'm pretty sure I would not want to read the book which is good to know.

Re: Official Review: What Makes America Great by Bob Dowell

Posted: 05 Jun 2019, 13:36
by Brendan Donaghy
I'm definitely not part of the target audience for this book, but I agree with other posters who have drawn attention to the fact that the title is a bit too close to the MAGA slogan for comfort. When you add in the flag flying on the cover, you have something which looks very much like it's going to be about Trump. I won't be reading the book, but I enjoyed your review - many thanks!

Re: Official Review: What Makes America Great by Bob Dowell

Posted: 08 Jun 2019, 12:08
by Cecilia_L
CyndiA1 wrote:
05 Jun 2019, 13:10
Thanks for the thorough review. I'm pretty sure I would not want to read the book which is good to know.
You're welcome. I appreciate your comment.

Re: Official Review: What Makes America Great by Bob Dowell

Posted: 08 Jun 2019, 12:10
by Cecilia_L
Brendan Donaghy wrote:
05 Jun 2019, 13:36
I'm definitely not part of the target audience for this book, but I agree with other posters who have drawn attention to the fact that the title is a bit too close to the MAGA slogan for comfort. When you add in the flag flying on the cover, you have something which looks very much like it's going to be about Trump. I won't be reading the book, but I enjoyed your review - many thanks!
That's true. You're welcome, and thanks for your comment.