Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A cool way to educate yourself in American history...

I often think about the best way to educate myself in a subject. In history, I think I now have a pretty good idea of how to do so. The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History by Thomas Woods is, in my opinion, one of the greatest ways to learn about American history. The format is fairly simple, Woods takes topics from American history and demystifies them from all the politically correct crap that surrounds it. Here’s the table of contents:

1) The colonial origins of American liberty
2) American’s conservative revolution [note: he uses the word “conservative” here because it’s what people will understand readily, technically he’s talking about classical liberalism]
3) The Constitution
4) American Government and the “Principles of ‘98”
5) The North-South division
6) The War Between the States
7) Reconstruction
8) How big business made Americans better off
9) World War I
10) The Misunderstood Twenties
11) The Great Depression and the New Deal
12) Yes, Communist sympathizers really existed
13) The approach of World War II
14) World War II: consequences and aftermath
15) Civil Rights
16) JFK and LBJ
17) The Decade of Greed?
18) Clinton

… all in 246 pages. Given, he doesn’t cover everything in excruciating detail, but here’s the cool part – he has an extensive bibliography and at least 3 or 4 recommended “books you’re not supposed to read” (that is, what the PC folks don’t want you to know about) per chapter!

My recommendation would be to go through the entire book in no more time than 1 semester, preferably something like half a semester, but whatever. Then, you pick out some books that he recommends that interest you and do further research. Alternatively, you could go at your own pace and research topics of interest as you meet them. For instance, you get to the chapter on the Constitution and then take a week to read and study the aspects of it. Read some of the Federalist Papers AND the Anti-Federalist Papers (I beg of you to not read just the Federalist Papers, the more I’ve looked the more I think one should be aware of both sides). Afterwards move on through the book.

I think this would be an excellent way to do independent study or fun and different way to approach history in a homeschool or private school environment. I've already recommended it to two families, and both have reacted very postively.

If anything, you definitely should buy this book and learn about the history of this great country without all the PC garbage.