Patriotic Picks: September 2019

Whether it’s via their tone, topic, or tenor, certain works just say “America.” Here are three such titles, suggested by David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American Foundation, in partnership with the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Patriotic Picks: September 2019

 

  • “1984” by George Orwell. Though written and set in Great Britain, this chilling, dystopian tale of Big Brother feels eerily relevant in the 21st-century United States.
  • “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Even in Puritan Massachusetts, the shameful “A” emblazoned on her chest can’t make Hester Prynne reveal the name of her lover. (Spoiler alert: It’s Dimmesdale.)
  • “3 by Flannery O’ Connor” by Flannery O’Connor. “Wise Blood,” “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” and “The Violent Bear It Away” comprise this matchless trio from the country’s foremost short-story writer.

See more Patriot Picks >>

Patriotic Picks: September 2019

Whether it’s via their tone, topic, or tenor, certain works just say “America.” Here are three such titles, suggested by David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American Foundation, in partnership with the Washington Independent Review of Books.

  • “1984” by George Orwell. Though written and set in Great Britain, this chilling, dystopian tale of Big Brother feels eerily relevant in the 21st-century United States.
  • “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Even in Puritan Massachusetts, the shameful “A” emblazoned on her chest can’t make Hester Prynne reveal the name of her lover. (Spoiler alert: It’s Dimmesdale.)
  • “3 by Flannery O’ Connor” by Flannery O’Connor. “Wise Blood,” “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” and “The Violent Bear It Away” comprise this matchless trio from the country’s foremost short-story writer.

Patriotic Picks: September 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See more Patriot Picks >>

Patriotic Picks: September 2019

2019 Grateful American Book Prize ‘Honorable Mentions’ to go to Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Tonya Bolden for “Dark Sky Rising” and to Mike Winchell for “The Electric War”

WASHINGTON, DC, Sep 16 — Honorable Mentions for the 2019 Grateful American Book Prize will be given to Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Tonya Bolden, co-authors of “Dark Sky Rising: Reconstruction And The Dawn Of Jim Crow” [Scholastic Focus], and Mike Winchell, author of “The Electric War: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, And The Race To Light The World” [Henry Holt].

2019 Grateful American Book Prize ‘Honorable Mentions’ to go to Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Tonya Bolden for “Dark Sky Rising” and to Mike Winchell for “The Electric War”

Author and publisher David Bruce Smith, who co-founded the Prize with the late Dr. Bruce Cole, a former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, says the grand Prize winner will be announced in the coming days.

School Library Journal cited “Dark Sky Rising” as “an excellent work on the rise of Jim Crow laws in the South. The authors detail the changing rights of African Americans during the Civil War and the many legal acts that gave rights of citizenship to black people, such as the Emancipation Proclamation; the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution; and the Civil Rights Act of 1875.”

The Journal also praised Winchell’s “The Electric War” for its “informal tone [that] makes the prose quite inviting and the text…rich with anecdotes, which illustrates the…author’s careful research and commitment to storytelling.”

The winner of the Grateful American Book Prize receives $13,000, a lifetime pass to the New-York Historical Society, and a medallion created by the American artist, Clarice Smith. The October 17th presentation will be at the Corcoran School of the Arts And Design in Washington, D.C.

The “Honorable Mention” authors receive the medallion, and $500.

History MattersSeptember 15 to September 30, 2019

What better way to seek religious freedom than to set sail for America? That is exactly what 102 Pilgrims did on September 16, 1620. They departed aboard the Mayflower from the English port of Plymouth. They arrived in Provincetown, MA on November 21, stayed for more than a month, set sail for Plymouth, MA, and settled there.

For more information about this important event in American history, the Grateful American Book Prize recommends Caleb Johnson’s book, “The Mayflower and Her Passengers.

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History MattersSeptember 15 to September 30, 2019
September 17, 1862 was the bloodiest day of the Civil War; Union troops led by General George McClellan faced off against a Confederate force commanded by General Robert E. Lee at Antietam Creek in Sharpsburg, MD. It took McClellan’s soldiers approximately 12 hours to beat back the Confederates, and when the battle was over, 26,000 men were dead, wounded or missing. Some scholars say the Civil War was the country’s most important conflict, because it divided the relatively newborn United States by threatening to undo all past accomplishments.

Young people need to better understand how the War Between the States was fought, and why its end was a definitive win for all Americans. The Grateful American Book Prize recommends Phillip Thomas Tucker’s “Miller Cornfield at Antietam: The Civil War’s Bloodiest Combat.

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History MattersSeptember 15 to September 30, 2019The notion that aircraft could play an important role in wartime became a fact during World War I, but the U.S. Army didn’t establish the Army Air Corps until 1926. It took another war–World War II–for aerial combat to receive the recognition it deserved when, nearly two years after VE Day, the U.S. Air Force was created as an independent branch of service.

For more information the Grateful American Book Prize recommends Chester G. Hearn’s “Air Force: An Illustrated History: The U.S. Air Force from 1910 to the 21st Century.”

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History MattersSeptember 15 to September 30, 2019In 1775 Nathan Hale, a Connecticut schoolteacher, joined the Continental Army. Captain Hale was a dedicated soldier intent on defending his country. His devotion led him to volunteer for dangerous missions to fend off British aggression–a desire that would cause his demise. On September 10, 1776, he was sent behind enemy lines in Long Island, NY, disguised as a Dutch schoolmaster, working on behalf of General George Washington. The junket was a success, but as he made his way to American-controlled territory on the night of September 21, he was caught and searched by his British captors. They found that the 21-year-old patriot was carrying incriminating documents. A swift death sentence was levied, and the next day he was taken to the gallows. Hale is remembered for what he is believed to have said just before he was hanged: “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”

For more information, the Grateful American Book Prize recommends Shannon Zemlicka’s “Nathan Hale: Patriot Spy.”

 


History Matters is a biweekly feature courtesy of The Grateful American Book Prize.

October 2019 Book Recommendations

James Beard’s DELIGHTS AND PREJUDICES; one hundred fifty recipes wrapped around many memories.

Clifton Truman Daniel’s GROWING UP WITH MY GRANDFATHER: MEMORIES OF HARRY S. TRUMAN; reminiscences.

Michael Kreyling’s AUTHOR AND AGENT: EUDORA WELTY AND DIARMUID RUSSELL; Thirty-three years of business matters, career shaping, friendship–and affection.

Rosa Parks’s and Jim Haskins’s ROSA PARKS: MY STORY; the autobiography.

 

October 2019 Book Recommendations

Education is all about creating responsible, productive citizens

Eleanor Roosevelt

WASHINGTON, DC — In an article she wrote in 1930, Eleanor Roosevelt concluded that good citizenship is the purpose of education. Eighty-nine years later, it is still the primary reason we send our children to school. Certainly, the classroom is also where kids learn the skills they need—eventually–to get good jobs.

But, it is also where children learn how to be industrious and conscientious citizens—a lesson that would be hard to learn without a knowledge of the successes and failures of past.

America’s dire need for a history lesson has been revealed in numerous studies. Most recently, The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation reported that Americans don’t possess the history knowledge they need to be informed and engaged citizens.”

Education is all about creating responsible, productive citizens

President Woodrow Wilson

The Foundation had 41,000 Americans from every state take the U.S. Citizenship Test; Vermont was the only place where a majority of those who were tested — 53 percent — passed.

It’s not a question of whether history teachers are doing their job, or if history is being taught in the schools. “This is an issue of how we teach American history,” according to Foundation President, Arthur Levine. The problem is the way in which it’s taught is “boring.”

The late Dr. Bruce Cole, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, recognized early on that the source of the nation’s history “deficit” was from boredom.

There’s nothing like a page-turner to help tap the innate desire in each of us to learn about the past, and Dr. Cole realized that.  Children in particular are curious and interested in how they got here, and what it means to be an American.  But often their textbooks fail to catch their attention. He felt the solution was to show just how exciting the subject could be. He believed “history could use the help of a ‘good read’ to generate enthusiasm among young people.”

Dr. Cole came up with the notion for the Grateful American Book Prize, and along with author, publisher and education advocate, David Bruce Smith, implemented the project in 2015. According to Smith, “our focus was on getting writers and publishers to produce more works of historically accurate fiction and nonfiction; books that could capture the imaginations of kids and adolescents. And, based on the growing popularity of the Prize, it has worked.”

Valerie Tripp writes historical fiction for children. In a blog at the Teachinghistory.com Web site she wrote, some years ago: “Historical fiction helps us fire up our students and readers because it uses emotion to make the facts matter. It uses emotion to teach gentle life lessons, and to form a ribbon of connection between the child in the classroom and the characters in the story.”

History MattersSeptember 1 to September 15, 2019

On September 2, 1864, at the height of the Civil War, General William T. Sherman and his army of 60,000 Union soldiers captured the city of Atlanta. He then sent a telegram to President Lincoln, which said: “Atlanta is ours, and fairly won.” It was a critical event — the rail hub of the Confederacy — which supplied weapons and food to the forces of the south. In order to completely deny the rebel armies of wartime essentials, Sherman set fire to the city—and widespread doubt–that the War could ever end in a Confederate victory.

The fall of Atlanta teaches young learners important lessons about the Civil War, and its tragedies. For a better understanding, the Grateful American Book Prize recommends Nancy Whitelaw’s Victoryin Destruction: The Story of William Tecumseh Sherman.

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History MattersSeptember 1 to September 15, 2019

On September 2, 1964, Governor George Wallace of Alabama, defied a court order that allowed 14 African-American teens to be admitted to the all-white, Tuskegee High School. According to the American Bar Association Journal, Wallace took office in January 1963 vowing “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever.” In order to prevent access, Wallace ordered his state troopers to surround the school and obstruct entry.

School desegregation was a dramatic and important chapter in the Civil Rights movement; for more information, read The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine.

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History MattersSeptember 1 to September 15, 2019

America is still recovering from September 11, 2001, the day terrorists hijacked four jumbo jets while they were in flight and turned them into bombers. Two of them took down the Twin Towers at New York’s World Trade Center; another was flown Kamikaze-style into the Pentagon, and a fourth –advancing to Washington–was commandeered by the passengers and crashed into a Pennsylvania field. In all, nearly 3,000 died.

The Grateful American Book Prize recommends The Memory of Things: A Novel by Gae Polisner; according to one reviewer, the book “is ultimately filled with love and hope.”

 


History Matters is a biweekly feature courtesy of The Grateful American Book Prize.

MSAC Hosts 2nd Annual Regional Arts Institutes

At seven different locations across Maryland, MSAC will be hosting its second annual Regional Arts Institutes as part of our professional development series this fall for all arts constituents (independent artists, arts organizations/programs, County Arts Councils, A&E Districts, etc.). More info visit MSAC website.

The event in Chestertown takes place on September 20, 2019 at Washington College. Register here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Partners
– Maryland State Arts Council
– MD State Department of Education
– Maryland Citizens for the Arts
– Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance
– Maryland Nonprofits
– Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts

Questions?
Contact Amelia Rambissoon, Marketing & Communications Manager, amelia.rambissoon@maryland.gov