|The Villages Tea Party
About the Book
It is common for late-night talk shows to stop people on the street and ask them questions that should be common knowledge. The responses can be funny, like the person who thought the First Amendment to the Constitution was “Don’t cheat on your wife.” I’ve had similar encounters. Several years ago I was in a company lunchroom when an employee picked up a magazine with a picture of the Kennedy family on the cover and asked, “Didn’t something bad happen to one of them?”
What is apparent in those anecdotes is confirmed in surveys. On standardized tests given by the U.S. Department of Education, only 12 percent of high school seniors were found to be proficient in American history and civics. The Intercollegiate Studies Institute tested seniors at 50 large and small institutions around the country. As a group, college seniors flunked American history. The average grade was an F. Harvard seniors scored the highest, but only a D+. An internet affiliate of Newsweek magazine polled a thousand people and found that 81 percent could not name one power belonging to the federal government.
Why is this a problem? The Founders believed that this nation would be preserved in liberty only if we as citizens understood its history, embraced its founding principles, and had an appreciation for the sacrifices made to secure the freedoms it affords. The day after the Constitutional Convention adjourned in 1787, a woman asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” He replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Thomas Jefferson said, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” President George Washington said, “The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government are . . . staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”
My book, American History In No Time: A Quick & Easy Read for the Basics, is the best way to get up to speed. It is a condensed overview of around a hundred pages divided into short sections that can be read in around five minutes each. The entire book can be read in just a few hours. In that short amount of time, you can have a solid foundation – knowing the key events, people, places, and principles.
Everyone can benefit from the book. It gives students an advantage in history classes. For adults no longer in school, it is the perfect refresher. Even those who are well-informed will likely find many things they either didn’t remember, didn’t have quite right, or never knew. Members of the military will find a deeper meaning to their service by knowing the nation’s history. American History in No Time can also be a valuable resource for parents who want to help their young children learn the basics in small doses.
-Randolph G. Russell
Randolph G. Russell will speak about the state of American history and civics literacy in the country. He is the author of American History in No Time, the quickest and easiest way for anyone to learn the basics – in just one sitting. It is also the perfect refresher and a great way for parents and grandparents to ensure that their families have a solid foundation. The book is geared to a general audience, but it has been used at a number of colleges, including the University of Central Florida and Eastern Florida State College.
Mr. Russell has a very broad background. In addition to his expertise in American history, he is an accomplished musician, having performed with Tony Bennett, Burt Bacharach, Lou Rawls, Billy Crystal, and many others. He has played in Europe, toured the U.S. with a Broadway musical, and performed at the New York and Playboy Jazz Festivals. In business, he held a number of upper-level financial management positions with companies in Florida and Georgia before starting his own accounting practice.
A native Floridian, Russell holds degrees from the University of Miami and the University of Florida.