Review of Rush Revere and the Presidency, by Rush Limbaugh (Threshold Editions, 2nd edition, November 22, 2016), 272 pp.; $11.99 on Amazon.com: ISBN-10: 1501156896, ISBN-13: 978-1501156892
In my first review of these five living history books produced by talk radio star Rush Limbaugh and his wife Kathryn, I explained only a wonderful graduate school course on the American Revolution had previously been able to transport me to this period in history the way the Rush Revere books have.
Through these books, I, along with thousands of kids across the country, have been able to experience the sights and sounds of America’s founding.
As I summarize my experiences as an adult reader of these books, I cannot emphasize too strongly that all my readers should gift these books to the young readers in their lives.
Poignant Contemporary References
In Rush Revere and the American Revolution, I was brought to tears while reading the final pages of this 239-page action-adventure book, when a young man greets his Army dad returning from a year in Afghanistan. While time-traveling through the great events leading to the formation of America, the boy had learned why his father had to leave him: to defend the freedom so many throughout history have worked so hard to protect.
The creativity in the story is pronounced. The author parallels modern-day activities with the adventures experienced by the students of fictional history teacher Rush Revere, who is accompanied by his time-traveling horse, Liberty. The students benefit from what they learn as they visit historical locations and events, such as Bunker Hill, the Battle of Concord, and the creation of the Declaration of Independence.
Learning America’s Founding
Rush Revere ultimately gets permission to take a few of his students on a field trip to Washington, DC, where they visit the National Archives and view the original documents upon which our country was founded. They see the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights. They learn though the war ended in 1783, these documents were not completed until the end of 1789, a fact I had long forgotten.
The students pose so many fantastic questions to their history teacher Rush Revere about these documents he decides to saddle up Liberty and search out James Madison, one of the fathers of the Constitution, to see if he would answer the students’ questions. The group finds Madison in a coffee house studying history, and he invites them to dinner for a lengthy discussion.
On Madison’s way to dinner at his boarding house, he meets George Washington and tells him of Rush Revere. Washington remembers his earlier meeting with Rush and his students and tells Madison to feel free to share the activities of the secret Continental Congress with them. How cool is that!
History of the 13 Original Colonies
The after-dinner discussion with Madison and others at the table focuses on how strong the relationship between the 13 colonies had been during the Revolutionary War but had since deteriorated because of the selfish leadership in many states. Their Articles of Confederation were failing and a new constitution was necessary. Because of the numerous competing interests between the states, the Constitution had taken several years to forge, and even then, many states remained skeptical of granting any power to a centralized government.
Madison proceeds to explain the three bodies of government that were designed to keep power in check. Rush’s students then ask intelligent questions, which are met with Madison’s brilliant answers.
For me, it was as though I was sitting at the table with Madison and the students, enthralled with the history I had never before understood so clearly.
In the final book of this five-book series, history teacher Rush Revere learns that one of his students desires to run for student-body president of his middle school. Unfortunately, the young boy’s motivation to win the election is to attain power and to become the most popular boy on campus. Carefully, Rush Revere guides the boy toward understanding what real leadership is about: service to society, something the Founding Fathers knew well.
Without prodding, Rush takes us back in history to the time of the selection of our first president, George Washington, and on to the elections of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Cam, Rush’s student, gets to meet these great men and learn of the sacrifices and leadership required to lead a nation—or a school.
The intermixing of modern-day life with early U.S. history feels so natural that young readers will receive an understanding of civics not widely available.
While I have long been a student of history, my new memories of sitting before these great men as they chatted with Rush Revere’s students during their time-traveling adventures will remain in my memory forever.
You will never find a greater gift for the young people in your life than this magnificent set of books.
Jay Lehr, Ph.D. ([email protected]) is science director at The Heartland Institute.