What I thought would be an interesting history book, entitled A Nation Rising: Untold Tales of Flawed Founders, Fallen Heroes, and Forgotten Fighters from America’s Hidden History, has turned out to be a political pundit’s adaptation of his worldview to various historical events. In other words, there is little true history on these pages.
I will admit up front that I only read the introduction and the first 61 pages – the section about Aaron Burr’s trial. (I couldn’t stomach reading any further!) From the beginning, when author Kenneth C. Davis claims that the election of Barack Obama was a “transforming moment” in American History. I paused, then decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. Truly, the election was merely an indicator of something that had already happened: race is no longer an impediment to higher office. But, maybe Davis was going to enlighten me beyond the usual partisan pap.
Nope. The first chapter didn’t get any better. Davis intimates that Aaron Burr was an all-around good guy, who seemed to have given Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton no reason to dislike the man. The nastiness of campaign attacks in the 1800 election were clearly enough to create enmity all around. But apparently Davis forgets all this. Next he states that Jefferson used the power of the presidency to bring false treason charges against Burr, much like Bush punished Joseph Wilson for speaking out against the Iraq war by outing his CIA wife, Valerie Plame. The only similarity here was likely that both Presidents were innocent of any wrongdoing in these cases. The fact that Davis alters history by bringing in his own conjecture shows that this man is no historian.
If you love history give this one a miss.
0 stars (out of 5)
published in 2010294 pages