Oklahoma University history professor Wilfred McClay has written an American history text deviates from the norm. Rather than depicting the United States as a blight on the planet, McClay’s book sees it as a Land of Hope — his title. In today’s Martin Center article, Jenna Robinson discusses the book.
McClay focuses on America as a story—something that is more than the sum of its parts—with threads that run through the narrative and tie it together: individual liberty, self-reliance, and relentless optimism. Because of this focus, Land of Hope is more than just a list of dates, battles, and important people. It also contains poetry (including Robert Frost’s “And All We Call American”), excerpts from literature (a large section on the American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson, for example), and even music (including the lyrics of “WPA,” a satiric song by the Mills Brothers and jazz great Louis Armstrong).
The problem, of course, is that few schools will adopt a history text that doesn’t fixate on the leftist catechism of racism, environmentalism, sexism, egalitarianism, etc. Robinson therefore suggests that parents buy the book on their own and encourage their sons and daughters to read it.
Professor Mark Bauerlein calls McClay’s book “the antidote to the abysmal levels of historical knowledge our high school graduates possess.” Bravo to Bill McClay and Encounter Books.