4 out of 4 stars
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What Makes America Great was conceptualized after the 2016 election when Donald Trump campaigned on the slogan “Make America Great Again.” After New York Governor Cuomo countered with “America was never great,” Dowell felt compelled to review the rich history of the United States and report his findings to readers.
Dowell begins with the early Puritan settlers of this country. He also includes the passionate works by Martin Luther King, in his efforts to secure the same rights for African Americans as guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence. Along the same line, Dowell includes several pages on Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who called for women’s rights. His book also features the numerous contributions made by Benjamin Franklin (I was fascinated to read of his self-examination book and his devotion to maintaining it).
The author takes the reader on a chronological history lesson. I liked that he touched on many topics but did not dwell on any one of them long enough for complacency to set in. I appreciated Dowell’s disclaimer at the beginning of his book citing that he “grew up thinking America great,” “enthusiastically repeated the Pledge of Alliance,” and “gave thanks for the privilege to freely worship God and to pursue a vocation of my choice.” It set the tone of why this question of greatness was of such importance to him.
His book included several references to religion, as that was the reason behind the founding of our country. However, at no point did I feel as though I was being lectured to. Instead, Dowell offers up fact after fact and document after document to make his point regarding America and what she has achieved to date. In his last chapter, Disturbing, he takes his political stand by calling out the paralysis in the U.S. Congress as well as the media.
Readers should note that this book is a relatively short book that can easily be completed in one afternoon. There were many topics and bits of information that I had forgotten since taking history classes, and I was pleased to become reacquainted with these facts.
I award What Makes America Great by Bob Dowell 4 out of 4 stars. There was nothing I found to dislike about this book. Also, I noted only a few minor errors, so this book was well edited. This book will undoubtedly appeal to patriots of the United States. It will please those who believe that America has achieved greatness and wish to see her continue to do so. History teachers may also want to give this book a try, as it could provide a short supplement to their textbooks.
I could tell from the description of the book, that there would be politics involved. Those wanting to steer clear of politics may wish to choose another book. Anyone who is not a patriot or is immensely displeased with America may want to skip this book. Because of the nature of the book, there are no curse words or graphic scenes to navigate. This book would be appropriate for young adults and would make an informative read for those in junior high and high school.
What Makes America Great
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