Saturday, May 19, 2012

Book Review - Being George Washington by Glenn Beck

I think Glenn Beck is a remarkable writer.  I've enjoyed his novels and his 7 Wonders That Will Change Your Life is a must.  This one is good too, but not necessarily for its writing.  No, the writing's good, its just a bit convoluted, disjointed and cobbled together.  If the author had purpose in the organization of the material, it completely escaped me.  The book has a great, and I suspect, pertinent quote from G. K. Chesterton:
I've searched all the parks in all the cities and found no statues of committees.
Ironic.  Because this book seems to have been written by a committee.  It's like collections of research cards that got collected into a paper in no particular order.  Couple that with a unusual number of spelling and other printing errors and the book looks like it was sent to press in a rush.  Observing Beck from afar it looks like he is in a mad dash to produce, produce, produce and in this instance, it shows.

That said, I came away with a deepened respect for, heightened awareness of, broadened gratitude for the father of our country.  Beck's purpose was to motivate his audience to emulate the qualities of character so abundant in this one, pivotal figure in our history.  In that, with me, he succeeded.  I was not aware of the depth of character required to accomplish Washington's singular and monumental task.  Upon his personal integrity the entire success of the revolution and resulting Constitution and Nation were hung.  Incident after incident made him truly the indispensable man.  While I admire Franklin and Adams and Jefferson and several others from that crucial period, none could have succeeded without this one man among men.  While it is true, to some degree, the same might be said of the others, the difference is degree is phenomenal.

Washington was know for courage and leadership and inspiration, but I came away most grateful for his humility.  After citing several examples Beck had this to say:
The lessons for us today are clear - question with boldness.  I know I'm like a broken record, but if you think that your version of the truth is all that exists, then not only will you fail in pursuing your agenda, but you'll also fail in motivating anyone else to join you.  The search for truth is a lifelong quest without a destination.  Don't fall into the trap of believing so deeply in your own ideology that you cannot even see the flaws in it.
When the Constitutional Convention convened every man had is agenda.  To the man, they compromised.  Had they not, the Constitution would not have endured as long as it has.  Each man had to be humble enough to listen to the position of the others and to sacrifice a few personal darlings for the good of the whole.  No one understood or practiced this as well as did the reluctant chairman of the Convention, George Washington.  Today, compromise seems to have left our collective vocabulary and the results seem to be approaching catastrophe.  It could all be resolved if each of us were like George Washington.

While the book is not as well composed as I'd like, for it's content alone I highly recommend it.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a well written review. I haven't yet read this book about George Washington, but look forward to it. My family particularly enjoyed 'Skylar and George Washington', which sounds like it conveys some of the same important lessons from Washington's life.

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