I discovered a web site, BookSneeze.com where I can request a book of my choice and receive a complimentary copy on the condition that I write a review of it. They state that they want an honest review and it can be positive or negative.
I chose The American Patriot's Almanac by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb, and I can only say positive things about this book. It is simply a wonderful book. Judging from the rise in books about American History, the Constitution and Patriotism, I must conclude that Americans are waking up and searching for their roots. They want to know how a country like America happened, how it came to be great and what actually were the original intentions of its founding fathers.
If you are one such person then The American Patriot's Almanac is for you.
I'll start with the most superficial reason for buying it: it is beautifully bound, combining both cloth and hardcover. The pages are made to look and feel like thick parchment with rough edges.
But the real reason you should buy it is for what the pages contain. This book is made up of daily readings of historical figures, events and documents of American history. What makes this book more appealing than many others of its ilk is that you don't have to find time to sit down and read it in bulk. You can browse a page a day over coffee in the morning. You'll read about well known events and figures but also learn of lesser-known historical happenings and people whose contributions also shaped the course of our country.
For instance, January 1 states that on that day Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Underneath is a brief description of what occurred on that famous day, including some little known but interesting trivia. January 2, however, talks about Haym Salomon: a financial hero of the Revolution. The paragraph underneath informs us that if it were not for this Polish immigrant, there would not have been a United States. (You'll have to read the book to find out why).
Other dates describe the discovery of the cure of polio (March 26) , the Burr-Hamilton Duel (July 11) and The Louisiana Purchase (October 20)
At the bottom of each page is a listing of several other events that also happened on the same day. For example, December 13 describes the history of the National Guard but underneath includes a certain Civil War battle that also took place on that date, that Woodrow Wilson became president and the U.S. Forces captured former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
In addition to the daily readings, each month includes an essay of various topics. The January section includes facts with illustrations of Flags of the Revolutionary War. February gives a history of the Stars and Stripes. May informs us of flag etiquette. June-how the Declaration of Independence was written and signed et al.
Finally, if for no other reason, you should buy the book because it includes The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, The Bill of Rights, The Gettysburg Address and something I didn't even know existed, The American's Creed. Every Amercian citizen should have these documents in their possession.
It seems fashionable for media figures and people on certain sides of the political spectrum to mock patriotism. I'll close with a quote that is included in the front of the book:
Actor James Cagney, playing Broadway legend George M. Cohan, summed it up in the 1942 movie, Yankee Doodle Dandy: "It seems it always happens. Whenever we get too high-hat and too sophisticated for flag-waving, some thug nation decides we're a pushover all ready to be blackjacked. And it isn't long before we're looking up, mighty anxiously, to be sure the flag's still waving over us."
I recommend that all shameless patriot's buy this book.