Monday, May 24, 2010

The Story of the Pledge of Allegiance

The Pledge of Allegiance is sometimes considered a controversial topic today, but in John Hudson Tiner's The Story of the Pledge of Allegiance, you and your child will learn the reason these 31 words were created and how they've changed over the years.

First, I must give a round of applause to Bryan Miller, who designed the book. It is engaging and beautiful, packed with excellent photographs both from history and modern times. But Tiner deserves applause, too, because his text is simple without being dumbed down, and contains lots of interesting information about the Pledge. For example, you'll learn:

* When and why the Pledge was created.

* Why the words "under God" were added to the Pledge by President Ensenhower.

* Why the original "pledge allegiance to my flag" was changed to " the flag."

* A brief history of immigration to the U.S., beginning with the pilgrims and ending in the early 1900s, including information on the costs of coming here.

* Information on some flag pledges used in various states across the U.S. before the official Pledge was adopted.

* Details on how 19th century children helped bring flags to every school.

* What the Pledge itself means.

* A bit about what freedom in America means.

There is also a quiz at the back of the book, in addition to a glossary and suggested activities.

What I Like: There's lots to like about this book. The author doesn't shirk from the Christian history of our nation, whether talking about why the Pilgrims came here, what the Founding Fathers felt about religion, or why "under God" was added to the pledge. He also does a great job covering controversial topics like Columbus. Tiner writes: "Columbus is honored as the one who discovered America. The native Americans did not know that Europe existed, and the Europeans did not know about the New World. Columbus discovered America because he made each group aware that the other existed."

I also really like how Tiner interweaves various parts of American history into the book. While learning about the flag and the pledge, we also learn a bit about such topics as the Revolution, the Civil War, and the Cold War.
What I Dislike:
My only complaint is the following, confusing, sentences: "The United States is a 'republic.' We vote for our leaders...The United States is a democracy, a Greek word that means 'the people rule.'" Technically, the U.S. is not a democracy, and the author fails to explain why he calls our nation both a republic and a democracy.

Overall Rating: Excellent.

Age Appeal: The publisher doesn't specify, but I'd say kindergarten on up.

Publishing Info: Master Books, 2003; ISBN: 978-0890513934; hardback, $6.99

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Unknown said...

Sounds like a book I'll be getting and recommending to some of my political buddies! :D

Angela said...

I agree. Sounds like a great book - could be great for homeschooling.