I wonder, in hindsight, whether I can consider what I experienced so many years ago a kind of child abuse: as a child, I attended public school—in other words, government controlled education. And before discovering LewRockwell.com, I had no idea I’d been exposed to many patently false myths serving the state’s agenda.
Nevertheless, I really liked the stories told by my teacher about the courage, nobility and honesty of Abraham Lincoln who walked miles to school, read by firelight, and was honest to a fault. I had no idea about Thomas DiLorenzo’s mind opening, contrarian insight on the man school taught me was probably our greatest President, a man to be venerated, someone far above the plane of mere mortals…or schoolchildren at least.
Years later, taught in a private school by a teacher who, with my admittedly imperfect memory, reminds me now of a clone of the ill-fated General Michael Flynn, I learned American history as a kind of mélange of dates and treaties, as dull as and focusing on economics—later I understood as Keynesian.
Yet our Founding Fathers were inspired by the spirit of liberty; they were real men with real thoughts, hopes and fears. As all human beings, they were imperfect, they were not gods—although some were heroic. Most of all they were terribly human, something I’d never have considered from my schooling when I was so young so long ago.
Abducting Arnold Best Price: $9.96 Buy New $17.20 (as of 03:55 EDT - Details) To me, one of the best ways to discover history is through reading biography—when it is honest, truthful, and well written, and also through historical fiction. To my great pleasure Lew Rockwell’s Becky Akers is a woman of talent and considerable skill as a writer. She has written a special book, Abducting Arnold.
In my mind, before reading this book, if I thought George Washington was “the Father of his country,” Benedict Arnold instead was the embodiment of treachery. To be a “Benedict Arnold” is to be the worse form of traitor. Yet Akers has done something noble: she has made a much maligned figure a fully dimensional, likeable human being. And she’s done this not only through her artistry but by seeking and finding the truth.
As our guide to this time, Becky created the fictional narrator of Clem Shippen and through her I found myself having entered a time machine and taken back to that critical moment of history, the birth of America.
In no way do I wish to convey that the novel is equivalent to a history text; when I read, I find like the best literature that captivates me I am able to enter that world and experience not only the excitement and adventure, but also form a bond with living people, if only in my imagination.
Burr: A Novel Best Price: $1.99 Buy New $11.03 (as of 03:30 EDT - Details) Summer reading is usually light and an escape from the everyday cares of this world; Abducting Arnold is an intelligent escape to a special moment in time, the birth of liberty in America. I think that the work of Becky Akers deserves to be better known and that the libertarian—and inquiring—readers of LewRockwell.com will find a rare treasure in this book. In fact, Abducting Arnold reminds me of the best historical fiction of Gore Vidal but is written not as dispassionately; Vidal never drew me in the way Becky has done for to me there was never such passion and pathos in his work.
So dear reader, put Jack Reacher or even Murray Rothbard aside for a little while; please read Abducting Arnold, another small step to seeking and finding truth, especially about our history and a remarkable, misunderstood man. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate liberty and the best spirit of America so close to our Independence Day.
Oh, one thing more I learned that amused me. In my schooldays, long before personal computers ever existed, I used yellow Ticonderoga number two pencils for my homework and on the box was a picture of Ethan Allen, “hero of Ticonderoga” but he wasn’t. From Abducting Arnold, I learned the true hero was Benedict Arnold; Ethan Allen “looted Ticonderoga.” As to the pencils, they’re still available today…but they’re manufactured in China.
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