Book Review: 7 Events That Made America America

7 Events That Made America America And Proved That The Founding Fathers Were Right All Along, by Larry Schweikart

How you view this book will depend in large part on how much you agree with the author’s libertarian perspective.  There is no question that the author is firmly aware of his historical texts, but at the same time it is the author’s interpretations of those texts that are not necessarily all that enjoyable to read.  To be sure, the author’s hostility to left-wing bias is music to my ears, but the author’s libertarian rather than godly moral code means that this book is not quite in alignment with my own views, and in a book like this which is driven by commentary rather than historiography, opinion and worldview matter a great deal.  I view this book, therefore, from a somewhat sympathetic but also somewhat critical viewpoint to the author’s, which is a somewhat alienating but not very unusual place to be [1].  As has been the case previously with the author’s work, I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would as a libertarian work and less than I thought I would as a morally conservative view, which means that this author probably finds himself somewhere around a conservatarian in his approach.

However the author identifies himself, this book consists of slightly more than 200 pages consisting of seven chapters that deal with seven events that are pivotal to the author.  Most of them, to his credit, are events that are somewhat obscure to many people but have a great deal of importance, and only a few of them have had their bones picked clean by carrion-eating commentators.  After an introduction the author introduces Martin Van Buren and his attempts to gain power and preserve Democratic rule by minimizing slavery and their spectacular lack of success in antebellum America (1), and its further repercussions on the increasing size of government.  After that comes a critical view of the overreach of Dred Scott and its leading to the Panic of 1857 as well as the Civil War (2).  This leads the author to praise private generosity in the aftermath of the Johnstown flood and similar disasters, pointing out quite reasonably that governments do not direct charity efforts, but people do (3).  The author then moves on to a look at how Ike’s heart troubles led to the sort of pseudoscientific nanny state that attempts to regulate diet and behavior for dubious and unproven reasons (4), scoring some points against the global warming myth in the process.  The author then looks at how the libertarian nature of rock & roll music was ultimately hostile to authoritarian communism more than Western liberal democracy (5), points out the flaws of Reagan’s peacekeeping and his show of weakness in then removing peacekeeping troops from the Lebanon quagmire (6), and closes the book with an acerbic view of liberal bias in the media (7).

Will you appreciate this book?  That depends.  It is obvious that readers fond of big government and the nanny state will not appreciate the author’s perspective and approach, nor will they appreciate the obvious historical knowledge he comes with.  Fortunately, most other audiences will find at least some aspects to appreciate, whether that includes a fair and balanced view of Fox News as being generally moderate rather than right-wing to conservative as it is often and mistakenly thought to be, or the author’s humorous praise of the lack of radicalism of rock musicians, or the author’s trenchant criticism of the bogus ideas about nutrition science current in American governmental agencies.  I am not sure that I would appreciate a face-to-face conversation over some beef brisket with the author, but I can at least enjoy reading his books, and that is enough enjoyment for me.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in American History, Book Reviews, History, Music History and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Book Review: 7 Events That Made America America

  1. jamesbradfordpate says:

    Reblogged this on James' Ramblings and commented:
    Reblogging for future reference:

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