Happy Fourth, fellow book lovers! For most, today is a day for fried foods, sun-kissed cheeks, sparklers, backyard barbeques, and spectacular fireworks displays. But it’s also the day to celebrate the good ol’ US of A and, for fellow readers, what better way to do that than by picking up a patriotic book? Engaging in intricate stories of our country’s history or harrowing tales from our veterans can be an amazing reminder of what our most patriotic holiday is truly celebrating. Here’s a list of some of our favorite patriotic reads:
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
This classic is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Set against the looming horrors of the battlefield – the weary, demoralized men marching in the rain during the German attack on Caporetto; the profound struggle between loyalty and desertion—this gripping, semiautobiographical work captures the harsh realities of war and the pain of lovers caught in its inexorable sweep. Ernest Hemingway famously said that he rewrote his ending to A Farewell to Arms thirty-nine times to get the words right.
My Path to an American Dream by M. D. Polidori
What is the meaning of the American Dream? In My Path to an American Dream, M. D. Polidori uses his childhood experiences and wisdom gained throughout the years to reveal the story of his life and the pursuit of his dream.
Covering his childhood in Italy, his experiences in America, and continuing through his time in the Second World War and beyond, Polidori details his attempts to find and fully live his American Dream.
Proud Americans: Vietnam Artillery Soldiers…Then and Now by Terry L. Nau
Told in the voices of Vietnam veterans looking back on the war, Proud Americans is an oral history of the 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery unit that served in Vietnam from 1965 to 1972.
The 2/32, nicknamed the Proud Americans, fired the first 175 millimeter rounds in the Vietnam War. The unit stayed in Vietnam for seven years, refreshed by more draftees and enlisted soldiers. From rescuing other American soldiers to the Tet Offensive to surviving 42 days of mortar attacks, the veterans share their personal stories of service. Bonds, slow to form, became unbreakable as black, Hispanic, white, and immigrant soldiers became brothers.
Proud Americans honor the sacrifices of those who never came home and those who did. Reflecting on their journeys to and from Vietnam, these veterans share an intimate view of their dangerous service.
My Life and Times: Story of a Kenyan American by James Butt
My Life and Times: Story of a Kenyan-American by James J. Butt is an intriguing autobiography about a Kenyan-born man who has lived through many life-altering experiences on what was once known as the ‘Dark Continent.’ From a young age, he knew his destiny lay in a life in the United States, and he continuously worked very hard, became educated, and struggled with bureaucratic ‘red tape’ for an opportunity to pursue the ‘American Dream.’
What makes this work so distinctive is the author’s ability to seamlessly combine his own life experiences with those of the world. This content is not only a fascinating read from an autobiographical aspect, but his recounting of chronological events gives the reader the chance to take his or her own trip down ‘Memory Lane’ by recalling what was occurring in his or her life at the time these historical milestones were taking place. This is a means to absorb not only national, but international history in an entertaining way.
The American Dream Comes True by Manfred Brecker
The American Dream Comes True was written to introduce Manfred Brecker’s father to his siblings. It is a story that takes into account a history of their family, which spans almost one hundred years. It details how an ordinary man achieved the highest awards a soldier can attain in the Kaisers army during World War I.
Max Brecker was decorated with two Iron Crosses, earned on the battlefield. The story portrays his experiences during the war and into the post-World War I years in Germany, living through the transition from a monarchy to a republic into a dictatorship and finally the hardship of surviving during the Hitler years.
Even though he had amassed a great fortune and a national reputation, conditions enforced by the Nazis made living in Germany for a Jew very dangerous. Leaving Germany was the only option. Leaving behind his wealth and power, the patriarch of the family has to start life anew. This story shows us his courage and great wisdom, which has assured that there would be siblings on this earth today.
Twentieth Century in Review by R. Paulet
As the title suggests, Twentieth Century in Review is a comprehensive look at twentieth-century world history, in parts. R. Paulet shares insight and facts with readers in a conversational and appealing tone throughout the text.
The author touches on peaks in American history, such as the first moon-landing resulting from the pioneering U.S. aerospace field. Yet, R. Paulet does not neglect the country’s lows and scandals, nor does he gloss over the World Wars. In addition to politics, Twentieth Century explores the history of the Papacy. The book flows conversationally, sharing the natural 10% fiction and 90% fact that the retelling of history is.
1776 by David McCullough
Based on extensive research in both American and British archives, 1776 is a powerful drama written with extraordinary narrative vitality. It is the story of Americans in the ranks, men of every shape, size, and color, farmers, schoolteachers, shoemakers, no-accounts, and mere boys turned soldiers. And it is the story of the King’s men, the British commander, William Howe, and his highly disciplined redcoats who looked on their rebel foes with contempt and fought with a valor too little known.
At the center of the drama, with Washington, are two young American patriots, who, at first, knew no more of war than what they had read in books – Nathaniel Green, a Quaker who was made a general at thirty-three, and Henry Knox, a twenty-five-year-old bookseller who had the preposterous idea of hauling the guns of Fort Ticonderoga overland to Boston in the dead of Winter.
But it is the American commander-in-chief who stands foremost – Washington, who had never before led an army in battle. Written as a companion work to his celebrated biography of John Adams, David McCullough’s 1776 is another landmark in the literature of American history.