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review 2017-10-01 01:00
500 Years of Protest and Liberty: From Martin Luther to Modern Civil Rights
500 Years of Protest and Liberty: From Martin Luther to Modern Civil Rights - Nicholas Patrick Miller

The upcoming 500th celebration of the Protestant Reformation has spawned numerous books focusing on the impact of the movement on particular facet of history.  500 Years of Protest and Liberty: From Martin Luther to Modern Civil Rights by Nicholas P. Miller is one of these books in which the author’s articles for Liberty are reproduced in an anthology to chronicle a link between Luther to MLK Jr.

 

The book is divided into four sections surrounding a central theme each reproduced article in that particular section can be related to.  The section introductions and the articles are all well written and fascinating reads especially for those interested in freedom of religion and separation of church and state issues.  However in relation to the subtitle of the book, I found the overall flow of the book did not link Luther to MLK Jr.  The first and fourth sections definitely link Luther and to the present-day, but the third seemed to be just its own thing though very informative while the second is somewhere in-between.

 

So while the focus of showing a progression from Luther to MLK Jr., it thought it faltered enough to impact my overall rating, I still recommend this book to anyone interested in freedom of religion and separation of church and state issues.

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review 2017-09-27 16:23
Jefferson Lies by David Barton
The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You've Always Believed about Thomas Jefferson - David Barton,Glenn Beck

This book was challenging to listen to, and I can't imagine it is any easier on the eyes in its physical format. Although there are some great points made about how modern writers often misinterpret history, the writing style in general was repetitive to the point of being condescending. Even worse, some of the faults Barton (rightly) accuses other authors of, he is just as guilty of himself.

 

People who do not study history think that it is boring and simple. They are not aware of the heated debates that take place over motives and personalities. Thinking history is nothing more than a list of dates, they discount it as insignificant. If this book does nothing else, it disproves this thought regarding history.

 

Was Jefferson an atheist, racist, rapist, *add in the negative term you have heard applied to Jefferson here* - or was he a forward thinking, brilliant Christian man unfortunately limited by the world in which he lived? The answer, of course, would fully satisfy nobody at either extreme because Jefferson, like most everyone else, was a complex man not able to be fully defined by simplistic labels.

 

Barton gets a few things completely right. Modern writers do transpose their own worldviews onto historical figures and try to force them to fit into it. They do look at one written line or one spoken comment and draw drastic conclusions from them. They do try to use historical figures as props to hold up their modern ideas despite the fact that we have no idea how they would truly react to our current situation.

 

Unfortunately, Barton also gets a few things wrong. He tries to paint such an overwhelmingly positive portrait of Jefferson that he dismisses evidence contrary to his ideas just as much as those he speaks against. He states repeatedly that Jefferson was unable to free his slaves through his will due to Virginia law, which is easily disproved in about 30 seconds online. Yes, a law similar to what he describes existed, but it was not as restrictive as he makes it out to be. It was a painful exercise to listen to the author attempt to clear Jefferson's name as a 'racist' while admitting that he owned slaves his entire life.

 

This is the problem with trying to force our modern views upon historical figures. In truth, Jefferson really was forward thinking in his attitudes toward blacks, but he still lived during a time of legalized slavery. He did free some of his slaves, and he did hire free black men for various positions and held them in high esteem....but he also owned slaves. This is a way of thinking that we can't reconcile in our modern mind without trying harder to understand the 18/19th century way of thinking. Anyone calling Jefferson a racist or trying to exonerate him is not really trying to understand who he really was because it's just not that simple.

 

I did appreciate the section of this book explaining more detail about the so-called 'Jefferson Bible' and clarifying Jefferson's attitude toward faith & the church. The fact that freedom of religion has evolved into freedom from religion in the US leads to many misunderstandings of Jefferson's feelings and objectives in this arena.

 

This book unfortunately is not a good source on Jefferson due to the half-truths & exaggerations that are made. Some previous knowledge is required to be aware of where the author is taking liberties with the subject matter.

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review 2017-09-25 01:19
Too Simplistic for 5th Grade
5th Grade US History: Famous US Authors: Fifth Grade Books American Writers (Children's Literature Books) - Baby Professor

While the authors listed in the book were about the correct age or grade (maybe a little older) there were a number of authors that should have been in there and weren't. There was also some information about the authors listed that I covered when we read these authors (or are reading them). So many things that should have been brought up and left out. 

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review 2017-09-25 01:10
Another That is Too Young
5th Grade Us History: Famous US Inventors: Fifth Grade Books Inventors for Kids (Children's Inventors Books) - Baby Professor

This is labeled for 5th grade but would be better for 2nd grade. I wonder if the author, like me, thinks of the simpler time where kids didn't write full on papers in 5th grade on research topics? It would be a good book to bring up the inventors, but only gives a little information, when I was teaching my girls 5th grade they had to know so much more about the inventor than what was provided in this book. 

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text 2017-09-19 12:42
More for the Education Shelf
5th Grade Geography: Seas and Oceans of the World: Fifth Grade Books Marine Life and Oceanography for Kids (Children's Oceanography Books) - Baby Professor
4th Grade US History: The Civil War Years: Fourth Grade Book US Civil War Period (Children's American Revolution History) - Baby Professor
4th Grade Geography: North and South Poles: Fourth Grade Books Polar Regions for Kids (Children's Explore Polar Regions Books) - Baby Professor

I realize that these state that they are for 4th and 5th grades, but I felt that they might have some information that would be good for what we are studying, but these were too young. I felt that they would have been good for kindergarten or 1st graders over 4th or 5th graders. 

 

The pictures in the books were very well done and the wording was definitely for teaching, but was definitely too young for the grades mentioned. 

 

 

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