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How to Raise an American: 1776 Fun and Easy Tools, Tips, and Activities to Help Your Child Love This Country Paperback – June 24, 2008

3.9 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Patriotism begins at home, so say the authors of this guide for parents dismayed by the perceived negativity emanating from public schools, Hollywood, the recording industry and the news media. The resulting cynicism separates them from "Americans who believe that we are the most privileged people on earth." Blyth, a former editor-in-chief of Ladies' Home Journal, and Winston, the first woman to head the White House speechwriting office, envision their book as a toolbox that can be used to redress this "Patriotism Gap." Dinner table debates on topics such as "When do you feel most American?" can stimulate discussion, while the "media virus" can be combated by viewing some of the "100 All-American Movies" (war films figure prominently). Although quick to praise examples of national virtue, Blyth and Winston come down hard on individuals and institutions that address the more unsavory aspects of American history and culture. (Textbook authors get notably thumped.) Fostering a heightened sense of civic awareness is a laudable goal. However, as with any other parental advice guide, moms and dads will have to cherry pick the ideas that reflect the values they want to transmit to their children.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

MYRNA BLYTH is the bestselling author of Spin Sisters: How the Women of the Media Sell Unhappiness–and Liberalism–to the Women of America. She is married, has two sons, and lives in New York City.

CHRISS WINSTON was the first woman to head the White House Office of Speechwriting, serving under President George H. W. Bush. The author of several books, she is a director of the White House Writers Group. Winston lives near Washington, D.C., with her husband and son.

Together the authors founded the Take Your Kids 2 Vote Campaign in 2007. Visit www.takeyourkids2vote.org.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Forum (June 24, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030733922X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307339225
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.6 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,835,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It's important to know where you stand, whose side you're on, and why. In the gathering storm of anti-Western, illiberal and theocratic ideologies asserting themselves in the developing world, our kids will be faced with mounting pressures to give in: to talk politically correct talk, to accommodate medieval fundamentalists, to do business with repressive regimes, to tolerate intolerant people. The decades ahead will test the American spirit as we engage societies that don't share our basic values and understanding of man and his place in the world.

"How to Raise an American" is an indispensable guide to explaining our culture to our kids. The schools won't do it, encumbered as they are by politics, special interests and educrat fads. The media can't do it; they're focused on what's wrong with our society and too often, their self criticism turns into self loathing. Religions don't seem to be helping much, drawing lines of division and dogma in a self-righteousness and insularity that's un-American. The culture does it, in its own way, by promoting individualism, social conscience and the pursuit of happiness, but culture is focused on the new, the innovative, sometimes the weird -- not first principles.

We have to be explicit with our kids. We live in the freest, richest, longest living, most dynamic, most inventive, most diverse society ever built. The 1776 tools, tips and activities in this handbook give parents some great ideas for teaching the history that brought us to this point and the important American values that continue to draw eager immigrants from every nation to our shores. Myrna Blyth and Chriss Winston write in a breathy, accessible style that's easy to read, and the book is a well-organized, carefully-crafted resource.
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Format: Hardcover
I think this book is a MUST READ for all parents and teachers. It talks about what is good about this country. America isn't perfect but we certainly have a lot to be proud of and this book speaks to that. That's all. It doesn't denigrate other countries. With all the America-bashing around the world (as well as here), I don't think there's anything wrong with positive reinforcement of our country. To that end, the book suggests conversation topics to start discussing our country and the world--discussion of both/all sides of the topic. That's what we do in this country.

I found the projects section to be very creative and would appeal to a broad range of ages of children. All of the teachers I've known would find this section particularly appealing. I also liked the sections on places to visit in every state and organizations to look into depending on the child's areas of interest. It is sometimes hard to come up with vacations and activities that have to compete with Disneyland and the Disney Channel. Mindless activities abound out there and this book provides activities that are educational, creative and fun, all at the same time. The book, movie, and website sections gave me a lot of suggestions that I had not even thought about.

I think a lot of people (who have not read the book) are looking at this as a right wing piece, but it isn't at all. I really don't understand where they are getting that. How is making hard tack during a discussion of the Civil War ideological?? If they had read the book, they would realize what this book is and is not. It's not an ideological book, it encourages discussion (both sides).

In closing, again, I would strongly recommend this book to anyone with kids or any teacher!!
Comment 52 of 63 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
With a son-in-law still serving in the military after his retirement and a grandson having just graduated from West Point and going to Ranger school, imagine my shock to hear our 15-year-old granddaughter telling her brother that America isn't worth fighting for. I could hear her ancestors (who have fought in every war the USA has faced, beginning with the Revolution and French/Indian Wars) rolling in their collective graves. However, I'm smart enough to know not to argue with her. I have, though, been looking for a way to change her mind.

Then I stumbled on this book at the library. THANK YOU, Ms. Blyth and Ms. Winston. This is exactly what I need. Fortunately I love history, especially American history, and can easily take the projects and ideas in the book and develop them to fit our family.

Furthermore, I am relieved and encouraged to see that others have not only recognized the problem but have studied it and have found solutions to offer. It's always nice to know that one isn't fighting alone.
1 Comment 16 of 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading this book, and I honestly can say I believe that I had been unknowingly temporarily influenced by the media. While I was reading about critics of the U.S. I realized that I have bought into a lot of the hype and negativity, focusing on a lot of bad and not remembering the tremendous good we do and have done as a country. I found myself getting teary eyed throughout the book with the stories of our founding fathers, immigrants, and military. Thank you for the dose of reality it gave me. I think it is hard to find a balance between looking at things through the media and looking at things through rose colored glasses. I loved the part of the book where the author talked about how the United States of America started as an idea, not by people who wanted more power, or wanted to rule, but by men who believed that all people had the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", that we were all created equal. And through this idea, they wanted to form a more perfect government.
Amazing....
This book is full of interesting facts like the reason John Hancock's signature was so big is because he wanted to make sure that King George could read it without his spectacles. I love this country, I feel blessed to have been born here and to raise my three children here. I am determined to help them appreciate this great country, and the freedoms we enjoy. My family and I are going to celebrate Flag day this year for the first time, by reading a small book about the flag, learning how to fold it, and learning about the design and history of it.
Thank you very much for this much needed book!
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