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The Intellectual Devotional: American History: Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education, and Converse Confidently about Our Nation's Past Hardcover – October 16, 2007
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About the Author
David S. Kidder is an entrepreneur with a wide range of technology and marketing expertise. Kidder and his companies have appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Fast Company. Kidder is a graduate of Rochester Institute of
Technology and was a recipient of ID magazine's International Design Award. He lives in Westchester, New York, with his wife, Johanna, and son.
Noah D. Oppenheim, a senior producer of NBC's Today show, has extensive experience in television and print journalism. He has produced and reported for Scarborough Country and Hardball with Chris Matthews, and his writing has appeared in Esquire, the Wall Street Journal, Men's Health, and the Weekly Standard. He resides in New York City.
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Top Customer Reviews
Several of the reviews on Amazon have criticized the book's small type, and this is in fact something to be wary of if you have vision problems. The first paragraph on each page is in what appears to be a regular-sized font, but subsequent paragraphs are quite a bit smaller. The "Additional Facts" (which set out some of the most intriguing ideas on each page) are quite small indeed.
The very first entry, for example, deals with "Egyptian hieroglyphics." Any amateur Egyptologist worth his or her salt will immediately tell you that the proper term is "hieroglyphs" -- "hieroglyphic" is the adjectival form of the word. A nitpick, perhaps, but one that tends to raise the hackles of Egyptian history professors.
Later entries contain cringe-inducing mistakes, such as the claim that the Hebrew Torah is the Christian Old Testament. In fact, the Hebrew Tanakh is equivalent to the (Protestant) Old Testament: the Torah consists only of the Pentateuch, the Five Books of Moses. This is not a minor point.
Other entries contain not so much outright errors, but a lack of nuanced understanding. To refer to the Mass as a "ritual reenactment," for instance, may pass muster for a Calvinist, but would make any Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, etc. wince at the authors' lack of understanding.
In short, it's certainly a book worth buying and enjoying. But take its summaries with a grain of salt. Tackling such massive swathes of learning necessitates that the work be far wider than it is deep.
Authors Kidder and Oppenheim offer factual options in this cleverly written book to enliven your conversations and broaden your knowledge on a variety of subjects. Their compilation offers History, Literature, Visual Arts, Science, Music, Philosophy and Religion explained in brief one page summaries. Each day you read one page only, absorb it. By the end of the week you will have explored each field of knowledge at least once a week. As your knowledge expands, so does your confidence and your conversations have more interesting substance.
Each day, while reading the book, I shared the information I had learned with my husband and friends who were delighted to discuss Ernest Hemingway, Cloning, illusion vs reality, Hammurabi's code of Laws, Noah, Plato, The Solar System, Vaccines, Albert Einstein, the Solar system, Da Vinci, Plato, Handel, atoms, Aristotle, Mozart, and Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" painting, just to mention a few passages. Actress Scarlett Johanssen portrayed "the girl" in a recent film based on Vermeer's life, so we gained more insight into how that portrait, "Girl with a Pearl Ear-ring," manifested, then our conversation strayed naturally to the quality of current motion pictures like "The Horse Whisperer" and " Island," in which Scarlett Johanssen was also featured, and that is exactly the purpose of this book, "to wake up our brains," enliven our thoughts, enhance our communication skills so that we become more confident and knowledgeable and stop hesitating to engage in diverse and dynamic conversations.
No need to be a hesitant, shy, silent observer. After reading this book, step into life armed with more knowledge and facts!
Now the authors, David S. Kidder and Noah D. Oppenheim, present to us a second volume of what I suppose will become a "devotional" series. This one is titled "The Intellectual Devotional: American History: Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education, and Converse Confidently about Our Nation's Past." It is set up with the same format as the first one, except that the seven topics (all related to American history) are: politics & leadership, war & peace, rights & reform, business, building America, literature, and arts. Again, one general topic for each day of the week with 365 learning pages. As with the first volume, I have not read the entire book before writing this review. I have perused the text, reading here and there, and am impressed with the scope of the subject matter.
Think of it!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is a must own for anyone with a curious mind. Also a wonderful "bathroom" book because each subject can be read in about 3-5 minutes. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Citysburg
I like how it is broken down into one page daily readings. However, many of the topics were below level for me (but I have a masters degree). Read morePublished 1 month ago by Wiren
I'm really enjoying the book. The chapters are very short and digestible, and the subjects are interesting. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Lizzy L
If you are thinking of buying this book, you should know what you'll be getting. I learned a lot by reading this book, but I suspect that I also absorbed many errors. Read morePublished 3 months ago by LAIDEADOC
I now have three of the intellectual devotionals. I love them. Reading these is a great way to begin the day .Published 5 months ago by CONSTANCE A. PEARSON
After reading the first one, I immediately purchased this one - being that I'm an American History aficionado. Read morePublished 6 months ago by empress8411