From Publishers Weekly
The late producer, journalist, and teacher Jeffrey Jones partnered with former Life magazine news editor Peter Myer for this well-rounded view of the pledge of allegiance. Beginning with its 1892 composition by clergyman Francis Bellamy, the pledge is understood by Meyer and Jones as a product of unstable times, years shaken by Civil War, changing demographic makeup, and increasing economic disparities. Initially a prayer for "intelligent patriotism," the pledge has worked both to unite and divide Americans, and it is this capricious nature that so interests Jones and Meyer-from its original celebratory use as a flag salute at a Columbus Day commemorative hosted by Youth's Companion magazine to its position as a tool to emphasize the principle separation of church and state to its usage as a bulwark against the presumed threat of communism under the Eisenhower administration. Myers and Jones effortlessly pull from their trade, an impressive array of newspapers, magazines and other literature-sewing together a book that succeeds admirably in portraying the pledge as a living oath capable of maturing with and reflecting the attitudes of an ever-evolving nation.
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Praise for The Pledge:
"A concise and often entertaining history."--The Wall Street Journal
"A lively, highly readable account that documents not just the beginning of the Pledge but some of the controversies it triggered."--Tucson Citizen
"A worthwhile read for anyone interested in the evolution of the American system and American popular culture."--NYMAS Review
"The story of the pledge is a part of American history that is often overlooked. Thanks to Jones and Meyer, that story is now told."--Roll Call
"Jones (who died before he finished the book) and Meyer do a thorough job tracing the Pledge's history from the germ in Bellamy's brain to the cultural icon it has become."--Richmond Times-Dispatch