• ruesterholz

3 months until The American Character is released

3 months from today, my book on American history, The American Character: 40 Lives that Define Our National Spirit, comes out. I am incredibly excited to share it with all of you. American history, as a topic, has obviously been quite well covered, though over the past few years there has been increasing debate over our nation’s history and place in the world. That compelled me to do months of research compiling what I hope is an unique and innovative approach to the topic.

I have always loved history, and what has fascinated me the most about it are the people. Events do not just occur; people determine them with their actions and decisions. History is really the compilation of the decisions everyone before us has made, which is why I wanted to take an individual-centric approach towards American history. In some ways, at the risk of being bold, it’s akin to a “21st century Profiles in Courage.”

Beyond the people, I’ve always enjoyed studying the why—the motivations for why people do what they do, why national identities form, what values guide us going forward. To me, you can’t separate the question of “what it means to be an American” from “what has America stood for and strove to each in its past,” recognizing fully that these ideals have not always been fully realized during our history.

What I have tried to do in The American Character is take the eight ideals that define America and what we have striven for since our founding: resilience, daring, faith, fairness, sacrifice, drive, industriousness, and innovativeness, and profile forty Americans, some well-known and some lesser-known, who exemplify an ideal (five Americans per ideal). In these brief profiles, you will hopefully learn new things about key decision-makers during pivotal historical events from the Revolutionary War and World War II to the Gilded Age and Hollywood’s Golden Era.

I hope that after reading the book you will not only learn new things about forty critical Americans, but also more about what our nation has stood for and achieved during our history. We live in an era where the greatness of our nation is under question and where we seem more preoccupied with tearing down others based on their flaws than holding them up for their strengths.

Ultimately, the purpose of studying history is to guide us as we confront the future. I think we learn far more studying and trying to embody the achievements of others than cynically criticizing their inevitable faults. I’ve tried to write an objective but optimistic book that can remind adults of what it means to be an American while also being accessible to a student studying American history in school.

This has been a passion of project of mine for a couple of years now, and I can’t wait for it to hit shelves on August 16th. If is something you’d be interested in, I would be profoundly grateful if you pre-ordered it!

Amazon link:

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