I was never a Glenn Beck fan in the past, but after being impressed with his book on gun control, I decided to order this title and I have to say it is terrific. This is American History told in a dramatic fashion, with some degree of fictionalization, but backed up with great research. Given Beck's background, you might expect this to be pro-American propaganda, but the book covers both bright and dark aspects of our history so that we can actually learn from our successes and our failures. The account of the Massacre at Wounded Knee is absolutely heart breaking and I hope it energizes the campaign to have the twenty Congressional Medals of Honor that were awarded for this crime revoked. Other chapters highlight the things that make America great. I hope that there are sequels in the works, because this book is what history is all about. Glenn Beck and the other authors and researchers did a great job of making history come to life.
on November 20, 2013
I loaded the book onto my kindle last night. Announced to the children that it was "Story Time!"... Met eagerly by the 9 and 10 year olds, and with eye rolls from the 12, 14 and 15 year olds. We sat and I started to read the first story, of Captian John "Jack" Jouett. Within a couple of paragraphs, the olders had filed in to the room and were listening intently. Glued, my youngest stopped me after a couple of pages, to double check that this really happened!
It's important to me to be able to relate the history of our nation to my children in a way that they will remember it. Some of the stories are a little bit longer with vocabulary that isn't quite as easy for the littles to understand, but I'm confident as we read and re-read the stories, they will come to appreciate the lessons they contain.
In answer to some of the comments bringing the ratings down, it honestly doesn't matter to me whether Glenn Beck personally wrote this book or not. The stories are great, and my family is hooked!
on November 19, 2013
After purchasing this book as a Christmas gift, I began perusing the pages and before I knew it I was reading a book I couldn't put down! I've since finished the book and ordered a second copy to replace the gift I eventually decided to keep for myself. Thank you Mr. Beck for such an EXCELLENT book on our country's history. I've always loved history (mainly military history) and learning more about those events surrounding the founding of the greatest nation on Earth. Every year people risk their lives to come to America (how many countries can say that?) and yet it seems our schools teach so little about American history - and what they do teach sadly has less to do with our history and more to do with revisionism and political agenda.
On a side note, I read some of the "reviews" of this book, and many are not reviews at all - which is the PURPOSE of the forum - but are instead personal attacks on Mr. Beck as an individual. What is it these people are so afraid of that they have to take the time to log onto Amazon and attack a man's personal reputation over a book they haven't even read? My only guess is they fear Mr. Beck as a man of strong faith, and for these types of people "God" is a dirty word. There are those who won't rest until they've stripped God from every facet of our society - all in the name of "free thinking"!! The radical left loves to preach "inclusion" and "sensitivity" and "personal freedoms" as long as it is being applied to that which fits their narrow agenda. But when it comes to the rights of Christians, then all talk of "inclusion", "sensitivity" and "personal freedom" goes out the window. They feel less than 2% of our population has a right to impose a (lack of) belief system on the other 98% of the population. Hypocrisy runs abounds with the leftist subversives who crave power and authority and growth of government because, after all is said and done, it is all about imposing THEIR RESTRICTIONS on OUR FREEDOMS!!!
on November 22, 2013
This review is of the Audiobook version of Miracles and Massacres.
Overall, this is an excellent publication.
I am not a fan of history as taught in schools - rote memorization of names, dates, locations. What the history classes lack is the real reason why we study history: For the stories. Stories that teach us not just "who, when, and where" but also the "how" and the "why". I had only one history teacher in school that presented history as more than just a list of names and dates; I learned far more in that history class than all of the others combined. Not only did I learn about history, but I learned about morality, consequences, and very difficult choices.
Miracles and Massacres reminds me of that high school history teacher. Here is well researched history presented in an engaging, entertaining way. You will hear the dates, yes, but they are of secondary importance to everything else. The chain of events is given center stage here. The decisions that are made, why the figures of history made them, and what the consequences were.
This is how history should be taught in order to prevent ourselves from repeating it. If you yourself are generally turned off by history, or if you have a child in school that can't stand the class, try Miracles and Massacres and see if that changes your mind. I will be buying a copy as a Christmas gift for me niece.
For those who have bought this publication and are enjoying it, I also recommend looking into the "Hardcore History" podcast series by Dan Carlin. They are very similar in nature, and Dan does an exceptional job of being very fair and presenting a very human perspective to history. The history in Miracles and Massacres is all American, and it shows us at our very best and at our very worst.
Glenn and Dan should get together. The result would be phenomenal.
The only reason I rated this four stars is that the Audiobook narrator does very poor accents. It was a bit distracting. When he uses his natural voice however, the reading is quite good.
Also, there was no booklet or track listing included with the compact discs. If you want to find a particular story you will be unable to do so. Here is a track listing:
2. Author's Notes and Dedication
3. Jack Joulett, the Ride That Saved America
4. Shay's Rebellion, Part 1
5. Shay's Rebellion, Part 2
1. Shay's Rebellion, Part 3
2. Shay's Rebellion, Part 4
3. The Virginia Convention, Part 1
4. The Virginia Convention, Part 2
5. The Barbary War, Part 1
1. The Barbary War, Part 2
2. The Barbary War, Part 3
3. Edison vs. Westinghouse, Part 1
1. Edison vs. Westinghouse, Part 2
2. Edison vs. Westinghouse, Part 3
3. The Battle at Wounded Knee, Part 1
4. The Battle at Wounded Knee, Part 2
1. The Battle at Wounded Knee, Part 3
2. Easy Eddie and the Hard Road to Redemption, Part 1
3. Easy Eddie and the Hard Road to Redemption, Part 2
4. The Saboteurs, Part 1
1. The Saboteurs, Part 2
2. The Saboteurs, Part 3
3. Who Is Tokyo Rose, Part 1
4. Who Is Tokyo Rose, Part 2
1. Who Is Tokyo Rose, Part 3
2. The Battle of Athens, Part 1
3. The Battle of Athens, Part 2
4. The My Lai Massacre, Part 1
1. The My Lai Massacre, Part 2
2. The My Lai Massacre, Part 3
3. The Missing 9/11 Terrorist, Part 1
4. The Missing 9/11 Terrorist, Part 2
5. Closing / Simon and Schuster Advertisement
Once you start, you will have a very hard time stopping.
on November 19, 2013
Mine just arrived. I opened it and began reading the first story; about Capt. John "Jack" Jouett; "The Paul Revere of the South."
I just finished the story of Capt. Jack Jouett, it was great because it is true and about the great actions of an ordinary man.
The potential for greatness is in all of us. A few get the chance to actually do something great. But only some of those who are given the chance will fulfill our potential to greatness with a great act.
This is a awe filling book, about successes to greatness, and failures from greatness.
The stories are short, even read aloud, maybe 10 to 30 minutes each.
Though the stories are short in length, they are long on humanity, meaning, history, and what we can be...if we will just act!
on December 28, 2013
First of all, I liked the book. It pointed out little known incidents in American History that were very interesting. I now feel that I have some basic understanding of some stories of which I was unaware. Good, quick read that is well written and entertaining.
However, listing this book as "History" is incorrect. This is much like a Hollywood film that states, "Based on a true story." We all know that it is usually loosely based or it would be a documentary based on facts. That is this book. Just before the notes section in the back of the book, the author makes three statements: 1) We sometimes modified quotations for clarity; 2) In some cases we imagined characters or scenes; 3) Dialogue and character thoughts were often imagined based on the historical record. Now correct me if I am wrong, but two of these self proclaimed statements should qualify this as "Historical Fiction."
I noticed all through the book thoughts and imagined conversations that I was skeptical about how would Glenn Beck know that. When checking out the notes on one of the stories is when I came across the "disclaimer." I don't think history comes with a disclaimer.
I would recommend this book to someone interested in a broad spectrum of historical vignettes about the United States, but not to someone who wanted in depth factual, historical value.