This first volume covers our heritage, our links to England, how the colonies grew, the mighty force of religion in early America, and the oppression felt by the colonists. It describes why our ancestors fought for their beliefs and their efforts to create a government limited in scope by checks and balances, so that it would not have the power to oppress the people.
Don't miss the rest of the titles in the A Basic History of the United States series:
©1983 Clarence B. Carson; (P)1993 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"For Carson, history is the product of the actions of countless individuals, each under the influence of certain ideas. And Carson explores those ideas, ideologies, and 'isms.'" (The Freeman)
"The [six]-volume Basic History has gained a well-deserved reputation for combining insight with simple narrative style." (AudioFile)
This work is fairly comprehensive. It delves into the beliefs and systems in place prior to the birth of America and gives a great back drop for the stage on which America was born. It is impossible to understand America without an understanding of the philosophies that were prevalent at the time. It is also impossible to understand American thought without understanding Christianity as a belief system that created American democracy and society. This work was well done and is a must to have in any library.
This series of books could fill a needed gap in basic historical literature, and begins in the first and second volumes with some promise. Sadly, it devolves into nothing more than a platform for Carson to vent his prejudices, which turn out to be myriad. You have to go into this with the understanding that Carson is an ultraconservative fundamentalist Christian and writes from that perspective. That comes through loud and clear from the beginning, and is all right in the first 2 volumes, because he still provides a fair narrative of the events occuring in the period covered. That begins to change with the third volume and becomes becomes all consuming by the fifth. He completely forgets history and substitutes ideology. Along the way we are treated to a dose of racism, antisemitism, reactionary economic theory and conservative dogma. All that might have been all right, if he hadn't forgotten the purpose of the books. We learn that slaves didn't have such a bad life, that railroads didn't screw the farmers in the late 19th century, that antitrust laws were an unconscionable imposition on the legitmate accumulation of capital and that FDR was the main cause of the depression. I stopped there, being unable to go any further. I stuck with it until he began to torture fact to bend it to his ideology. I would steer clear of these books.
Clarence B. Carson delivers an excellent general overview of American history in six volumes without getting caught up in the naturalism and statism of our modern times. He presents history as something that we can learn from and use to guide us in the future. He manages to rise above the cacophony and emotions of present day and give a balanced perspective of our nation's history. He is a voice of liberty and shows clearly how the idea of liberty has eroded into collectivism. But he also avoids deifying the Founders and presents the very real tensions that have existed from the beginning.
If you have accepted the premises of philosophical naturalism and believe that "history is bunk", then this series is probably not for you. But if you are desiring to gain a deeper understanding on the historical American way of thinking and still believe in the "American Experiment", then this series is sure to satisfy.
The various charts and timelines scattered throughout all the volumes can be a bit tedious for the audio book format and having a paper copy on hand is highly recommended. But the series is still well worth the listen.
I applaud the author for his brave stance in presenting history as it was, without diluting any unpleasantness for the sake of political correctness. In today's American era of tolerance, with everyone tripping over each other to extend acceptance, it is surprising and liberating to have an author embrace and relay the mindset of an era to the degree that can be found in this volume. Let's face it folks: this nation was founded by God fearing people. And, this first volume of the Basic History of the United States unflinchingly presents the history exactly as it occurred, without any pandering or posturing to those who are opposed to telling it like it is. Our nation's forefathers were Christian, and certainly God fearing and, like it or not, this nation was built upon Christian beliefs and values.
Regardless of whether we love it or hate it, or are indifferent to it, the truth is the truth. And like any excellent historical account, this book presents the truth. It is ridiculous and counterproductive to condemn the writer for his political and religious stance when he is writing a historical, verifiable account. I dare say the same would not have been done had Muhammad, the Dali Lami or even Sun Tzu been the author or the subject matter.
The contrast between the morals of America's people then and now is as striking as it is troubling. We have truly lost our way.
Furthermore, the benefit of the book's information should far outweigh any assault on anyone's sensibilities, liberal or otherwise. Should be required reading.
I listen to these books and realize that there is a lot about history I don't know. I probably should have learned it in school but now that I really want to learn it understand it a lot better.
I find it fascinating that right off the bat people like Hamilton were trying to look at the Constitution broadly and how the Supreme Court operated and how the President declared many things unconstitutional.
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