History MattersMay 1 to May 17, 2019

Ten years after the devastating terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 History MattersMay 1 to May 17, 2019that took the lives of approximately 3,000 people in New York, Washington DC and Pennsylvania, the mastermind of the diabolical assault, Osama bin Laden, was found, and killed. U.S. Special Forces carried out a daring raid on his secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan in 2011 where bin Laden and his cadre of minions were hiding out. The unprovoked 9/11 assaults were carried out by terrorist hijackers who commandeered four U.S. passenger planes; two were crashed into the 110-story Twin Towers in New York City, a third hit the Pentagon in Washington DC, and passengers aboard a fourth fought back against the bombers aboard their plane as it tumbled into a field in Pennsylvania.

For more information: The Grateful American Book Prize recommends Live Aware, Not in Fear: The 411 After 9-11, A Book for Teens by Donna Wells and Bruce C. Morris.

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History MattersMay 1 to May 17, 2019We remember the veterans who fought and died for our country on History MattersMay 1 to May 17, 2019Memorial Day, each year, at the end of May.

But, the original observance was on May 5, 1865, and it was called Decoration Day. It was established so the nation could pay its respects to the soldiers who lost their lives in the Civil War. Relatives, friends and neighbors “decorated” their graves with flowers. Many years and too many wars later, the day was renamed, and in 1971 Congress turned Memorial Day into an official national holiday to be observed on the last Monday in May. It created a three-day holiday weekend that has become the unofficial start of summer.

The Grateful American Book Prize recommends the engrossing Memorial Day by Vince Flynn, to better understand the holiday.

 

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History MattersMay 1 to May 17, 2019Before the War Between the States, America had already been involved History MattersMay 1 to May 17, 2019in three international conflicts. The Revolutionary War established the country’s independence and the War of 1812 reaffirmed our sovereignty from Great Britain. And, then there was the Mexican-American War from 1846 to 1848. On May 13, 1846, Congress declared war on Mexico at the behest of President James K. Polk. The cause was what President Polk called “manifest destiny,” or the United States’ right to expand its western boundaries. In the end, the nation extended to the Pacific Ocean, including parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah and Colorado. But, it was a costly war in which 11,300 American soldiers perished.

For more information: The Mexican-American War by John DiConsiglio; a good book for young readers to interpret the times and causes of the fight, according to the Grateful American Book Prize.

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History MattersMay 1 to May 17, 2019On May 17, 1954, the landmark Brown v. Board of Education was decided History MattersMay 1 to May 17, 2019by the U.S. Supreme Court. It declared that separate educational facilities for black and white students were “inherently unequal,” even if their physical accommodations were designed to be tangibly equal. Thurgood Marshall, who later became the first African American jurist to be appointed to the Supreme Court, argued the ground breaking case before the court. The story behind Brown v. Board of Education is a must for young learners in order to understand what it means to be a responsible citizen of the U.S.

For more information, read Susan Goldman Rubin’s Brown v. Board of Education: A Fight for Simple Justice.


May 1 to May 17, 2019 — History Matters is a biweekly feature courtesy of The Grateful American Book Prize.

Patriotic Picks: April 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.

  • The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane. After being driven by fear from a Civil War battlefield, a young Union private regains his nerve and seeks an honor-bestowing combat wound.
  • Iacocca: An Autobiography by Lee Iacocca. In larger-than-life style, the son of Italian immigrants recounts his role in salvaging the American auto industry, and the slings and arrows he endured along the way.
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. New England sisters Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March grow into womanhood in this classic coming-of-age tale from the mid-19th century.
     

    Patriotic Picks: April 2019

 

Patriotic Picks: April 2019

Patriotic Picks: April 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: April 2019

 

  • The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane. After being driven by fear from a Civil War battlefield, a young Union private regains his nerve and seeks an honor-bestowing combat wound.
  • Iacocca: An Autobiography by Lee Iacocca. In larger-than-life style, the son of Italian immigrants recounts his role in salvaging the American auto industry, and the slings and arrows he endured along the way.
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. New England sisters Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March grow into womanhood in this classic coming-of-age tale from the mid-19th century.

Warren Buffett’s Skill for Success: Reading

By Tom Popomaronis for CNBC – April 21, 2019

Charlie Munger praises this 1 trait of Warren Buffett’s—without it, ‘you won’t get very far in life’

Without a doubt, Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett are a match made in heaven. After working together for more than 40 years, the two legendary investors still hold plenty of respect and admiration for one another.

As vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Munger says there’s one quality of Buffett’s that he holds in especially high esteem: His ability to be a lifelong “learning machine.”

“If you take Warren Buffett and watched him with a time clock, I would say half of all the time he spends is sitting on his ass and reading,” Munger said in his 2007 commencement speech at the University of Southern California.

How to be a learning machine

As the cliche goes, success is about the journey and not the destination. So what does a learning machine look like?

Lifelong learning is essential to long-term success

“Without lifelong learning, you’re not going to do very well. You’re not going to get very far in life based on what you already know,” says Munger.

“If you take Berkshire Hathaway, which is certainly one of the best-regarded corporations in the world and may have the best long-term investment record in the entire history of civilization, the skill that got Berkshire through one decade would not have sufficed to get it through the next decade with the achievements made,” he says. “Without Warren Buffett being a learning machine — a continuous learning machine, the record would have been absolutely impossible.”

But Munger is also a learning machine.

In an interview with author Alice Schroeder for his biography, “The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life,” Buffett told a story about Munger’s early days as a lawyer. At the time, “he was probably getting about $20 an hour. He thought to himself, ‘Who’s my most valuable client?’ And he decided it was himself. So he decided to sell himself an hour each day.”

Munger made this a daily routine, Buffett explains. “He did it early in the morning, working on these construction projects and real estate deals. Everybody should do this — be the client, then work for other people, too, and sell yourself an hour a day.”

1. Read, read, read

Munger’s observation lines up with what Buffett himself has said about himself — that he often reads up to 500 pages a day.

In the book ” Working Together: Why Great Partnerships Succeed,” Buffett told author Michael Eisner: “Look, my job is essentially just corralling more and more and more facts and information, and occasionally seeing whether that leads to some action. And Charlie — his children call him a book with legs.”

2. Exercise your brain

There are a variety of ways to work your mental muscles. (Netflix, unfortunately, isn’t one of them.)

Buffett plays bridge — and it keeps him, at 88, as sharp as ever. “I play a lot,” he said in a 2017 interview with The Washington Post. “At least four sessions a week, about two hours a session.”

Munger practices “multidisciplinary thinking,” which essentially means constantly learning new perspectives of the world — and then putting them into practice.

In his speech, he argues that you can’t make smart decisions with just isolated facts. The knowledge you gather from “learning all the big ideas and all the big disciplines” will help you attack problems from different angles.

“I went through life constantly practicing this model of disciplinary approach,” he says. “I can’t tell you what that’s done for me. It’s made life more fun. It’s made me more constructive. It’s made me more helpful to others. It’s made me enormously rich.”

3. Pass on your wisdom

It’s impossible to achieve a legendary status by keeping valuable knowledge all to yourself.

According to a 2009 study published in The Journal of Science Education and Technology, teaching can also increase the motivation to learn, meaning that people who push themselves to learn with the intention to teach others have stronger communication, increased confidence and higher leadership skills. Researchers call this the “protégé effect.”

As Munger says, “the sacrifice, wisdom and value transfer that comes from one generation to the next can never be underrated.”

Knowledge is power, but you must learn to wield it

It would be downright silly to pretend that knowledge alone will turn you into a billionaire. There are many other factors at play, but the most important one is to take action.

Munger’s advice? Just keep pushing yourself, and never stop.

“I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines,” he says. “They go to bed every night a little wiser than when they got up. And boy does that help — particularly when you have a long run ahead of you.”

Warren Buffett’s Skill for Success: Reading

Movie of the Month: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

The handsome, former sports star, Brick Pollitt, and his sultry wife, visit his family’s Mississippi plantation to celebrate “Big Daddy’s” 65th birthday. There, the hot-headed old man confronts his son, and demands to know why he and Maggie haven’t given him a grandchild. Based on the play by Tennessee Williams, with an all-star cast comprised of Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Burl Ives, and Judith Anderson.

Celebrating 200 Years of Walt Whitman at the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress will celebrate the 200th anniversary of American poet and changemaker Walt Whitman’s birthday in spring 2019 with a series of exhibits, public programs and a digital crowdsourcing campaign to showcase the Library’s unparalleled collections of Whitman’s writings and artifacts.

The Library’s Whitman Bicentennial series will be part of the citywide Walt Whitman 200 Festival and other commemorations in the Mid-Atlantic where Whitman spent most of his life. Whitman was born May 31, 1819, and died March 26, 1892. He spent about 10 years living and writing in Washington. During the Civil War, he volunteered in military hospitals in the city to provide emotional support to wounded soldiers.

Whitman worked as a schoolteacher, printer, newspaper editor, journalist, carpenter, freelance writer and civil servant, but he is best known as one of America’s most famous poets – and as a poet of democracy.

The Library holds the most extensive array of Whitman and Whitman-related collections in the world, including manuscripts, rare books, prints and photographs. Collection items range from handwritten drafts of poems and early prose writings to rare editions of “Leaves of Grass,” Whitman’s eyeglasses and walking stick and the most famous studio portraits taken in his lifetime. The manuscript collections are digitized and available online, as are many photographs.

The Whitman Bicentennial series is part of a yearlong initiative in 2019 inviting visitors to Explore America’s Changemakers.

More >>

Celebrating 200 Years of Walt Whitman at the Library of Congress

May 2019 Book Recommendations

Paul Kalanithi’s WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR; a 36-year-old neurosurgeon is diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer just before his decade of training is completed.

Joanne Greenberg’s I NEVER PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN; a sixteen-year-old schizophrenic is guided back to sanity by a psychiatrist; based on the author’s life.

Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey’s LIFE SENTENCES; three middle aged woman decide to make changes in their lives.

Ayn Rand’s THE FOUNTAINHEAD; an architect defies people and conventional standards during the construction of his masterpiece.

 

May 2019 Book Recommendations

History Matters

It happened on April 18, 1775. Bostonians Paul Revere and William Dawes History Mattersgalloped into history when they set out on horseback from the city to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that the British were on the march to disrupt the Patriot cause. They planned to overthrow the fledgling revolutionary movement before more colonists were recruited to the cause of independence. Two signal lamps were lit, which meant the British were crossing the Charles river to launch their attack. Hundreds of Minutemen were roused and set out to confront the enemy. It was the beginning of the end of British rule in America, and a critical period in history.

The winner of the 2016 Grateful American Book Prize was Chris Stevenson’s, The Drum of Destiny, the story of a boy who walks hundreds of miles to join the American Revolution’s Continental Army. According to the author, “by reading [The] Drum of Destiny, young readers can learn about history without realizing they are learning about history. Most history textbooks are written with the idea of teaching kids facts they can memorize so they can then take a test. This method misses the most important aspects of history. The real life stories, the reasons behind the facts, and the character of our country’s founders are where the real learning is discovered.”

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History MattersFrom February 23rd to March 6th in 1836, the Alamo Mission in San History MattersAntonio, TX was used as a fortress by Texans determined to win their freedom from Mexico. Approximately 4,000 troops under the command of General Antonio López de Santa Anna, sieged the fort, and trapped about 200 defenders. Nearly all of them were killed, including Colonel James Bowie, Lieutenant Colonel William B. Travis, and frontiersman David Crockett. The battle captured the imaginations of settlers throughout the territory who rallied around the battle cry, “Remember the Alamo.” And, it set the stage for the independence of Texas, a hard won victory by Sam Houston and his 800 troops, who went up against Santa Ana’s 1,500 men at the battle of San Jacinto.

For further reading, the Grateful American Book Prize recommends Margaret Cousins’ The Boy in the Alamo, a perennial favorite among preteens and teens.

 

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History MattersOn Thursday, April 30, 1789, six years after the end of the American Revolution, History MattersGeorge Washington was sworn in as the first president of the United States, on the balcony of Federal Hall in New York, in full view of the citizenry.

Washington had distinguished himself as commander of the Continental Army, leading a band of heroic rebels to a decisive victory. His citizen soldiers had been up against the disciplined Redcoats, who fought on behalf of King George lll, but they were defeated, soundly. The Revolution was, perhaps, the first great adventure tale in American history—from which a powerful, free democracy was formed that became the envy of the world.

For further reading, The Grateful American Book Prize recommends Laurie Calkhoven’s George Washington: An American Life.

 


April 18-30, 2019  — History Matters is a biweekly feature courtesy of The Grateful American Book Prize.