Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The American Patriot's Almanac

The American Patriot’s Almanac is a fantastic way for families to talk about American history one bite at a time. I was worried that this book would be overwhelming in scope and depth at 515 pages, but instead I found it to be a pleasant read at one page per day.

The book consists of a one page a day synopsis of an important historical event that took place on this date in history. For example, December 16th has four paragraphs summing up the events of the Boston Tea Party. Following this, is five single line other significant historical events, arranged chronologically, such as:

1773 Massachusetts colonists stage the Boston Tea Party

1811 The first of the New Madrid earthquakes, a series of incredibly violent quakes centered near New Madrid, Missouri, occurs.

1835 Fire roars through New York City, destroying approximately 600 buildings.

1944 German forces launch a surprise attack in Belgium, beginning the Battle of the Bulge, Hitler’s last major offensive battle on the Western front.

1972 The Miami Dolphins become the first NFL team to go unbeaten and untied in a fourteen-game regular season; they go on to defeat the Redskins in Super Bowl VII.

When I first started reading this book about a week ago, I was always surprised to learn what took place on this date in history. My husband is a big history buff and I’ve never been able to talk history with him before because I didn’t have the vast reserves of trivia knowledge that he had. Now the gap is closing in! Every month historical documents are included, word for word, such as the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, The Gettysburg Address, as well as famous prayers and poems, such as the Franklin D. Roosevelt's D-Day Prayer, the Prayer for Memorial Day by Ronald Reagan, and I Hear America Singing by Walt Whitman.

Most significantly though, my ninth grade son is literally eating this book up at breakfast. He sits down with his bowl of cereal and opens up the book to today’s date and absorbs the information. I would recommend this book for middle school and above. If you can get your child to read the daily page, it would give your child a good foundation in America’s history in about three minutes a day.

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