Rediscovering God in America
Reviewed by Marshall Hughes
Rediscovering God in America
"After finishing only a few pages, readers could not be blamed for daydreaming of this book one day being mandatory for all high school students in America."
Billed as "a stroll through Washington D.C . . . to review the significant monuments, memorials and documents found in our nation's capital," this Newt Gingrich-written book is an absolute godsend for those who have grown weary of the Christian bashing and American history-denying days in which we live. Gingrich reviews the history behind these historical places and some of the words inscribed on them. This is a great book for those who want to say, "I told you so!" to those who deny this part of America's history.
"There is no attack on American culture more destructive and more historically dishonest than the secular Left's relentless effort to drive God out of America's public square." If there was any doubt about where author Newt Gengrich stands, he answers it in this, the first sentence of Chapter 1 of his latest book's introduction.
And, in case the reader can't wait for Chapter 1, there is this John Adams quote from the Introduction: "Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
Gingrich, former Speaker of the House and chief architect of "The Contract with America," takes the reader on a virtual tour of Washington D.C.'s monuments, memorials and significant documents looking with special detail at the history and inscriptions on them. He starts with the National Archives and goes through all the places of historical significance in Washington D.C. that you know, ending with a short chapter on Arlington National Cemetery.
The book is jammed with fascinating anecdotes about each of the sites Gengrich visits. Here are some examples:
*Arlington Cemetery, and most of Arlington County, was once owned by Robert E. Lee. The federal government seized the land from Lee's widow after she failed to pay $92.07 in taxes. Lee's widow, Mary Custis, was the daughter of the adopted son of . . . wait for it . . . George Washington.
*When discussing the World War II Memorial, Gingrich writes that The U.S. government distributed 17,000,000 Bibles to soldiers in World War II, and among the war posters distributed was one "showing an arm with a Nazi insignia plunging a dagger through the Holy Bible."
*The Library of Congress employs over 5,000 people, has over 29 million books, 4.8 million maps and has over 10,000 items added daily (out of 22,000 daily submissions).
*During Thomas Jefferson's time in office, church services were held in the Capitol building, in the Treasury Building and in the Supreme Court. Try that today!
The book is also filled with inspiring quotes, from John Adams ("The highest story of the American Revolution is this: It connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity") to Calvin Coolidge ("The foundation of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country"), to Ronald Reagan ("...freedom prospers only where the blessings of God are avidly sought and humbly accepted" and "Without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure").
After finishing only a few pages, readers could not be blamed for daydreaming of this book one day being mandatory for all high school students in America. Of course, in places like Berkeley and Cambridge it is much more likely to be banned than it is to become mandatory reading, but such is America today.
The book also has anecdotes relating to modern times, which keeps it fresh and up to date. The history behind the words "under God" being a part of the Pledge of Allegiance is explained. Michael Newdow, please take note. Also, being a God-fearing, freedom-loving American, Gingrich even takes a few fish-in-a-barrel shots at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Perhaps he will some day write a book about the damage it has done to America.
The only real criticisms that can be made of this book are that the quality of the 15 pages of pictures leaves a lot to be desired, and that there is no scale on the map of the area of Washington D.C. where all the monuments and memorials are located.
Still, this is a book that will remain on my bookshelf forever.
Marshall Hughes is a former sports writer for the Honolulu Advertiser. For most of the past 22 years he has taught English in Japan. He has taught at the university level in America, Japan and China. Among his hobbies are sports, traveling and photography. He has been to 41 countries and is always hoping to go somewhere new. He is an award-winning photographer in both Japan and America. His bi-lines include The Washington Post, The Pacific Daily News (Guam), The Contra Costa Times and several sports publications.