A History of the United States of America

A new book from Solid Ground hoping to be published – but they need enough pre-pub sales to commit to it.

I’d love to get some recommendations on history books in general – which ones are the best in giving overviews of certain time periods (not just U.S.)?

From the Discovery of the Continent to the Establishment of the Constitution in 1789
George Bancroft

In this final edition (1888) of his great work George Bancroft has made extensive changes in the text, condensing in places, enlarging in others, and carefully revising. It is practically a new work, embodying the results of the latest researches, and enjoying the advantage of the author’s long and mature experience.

“It has not been granted to many historians to devote half a century to the history of a single people, and to live long enough, and, let us add, to be willing and wise enough, to revise and rewrite in an honored old age the work of an entire lifetime.” New York Mail and Express

“There is nothing that needs to be said at this day of the value of ‘Bancroft.’ Its authority is no longer in dispute, and as a piece of vivid and realistic historical writing it stands among the best works of its class. It may be taken for granted that this new edition will greatly extend its usefulness.” – Philadelphia North American

“The extent and thoroughness of this revision would hardly be guessed without comparing the editions side by side. The condensation of the text amounts to something over one-third of the previous edition. There has also been very considerable recasting of the text. On the whole, our examination of the first volume leads us to believe that the thought of the historian loses nothing by the abbreviation of the text. A closer and later approximation to the best results of scholarship and criticism is reached. The public gains by its more compact brevity and in amount of matter, and in economy of time and money.” – The Independent

In this six-volume work we have over 3500 pages of brilliant history written by a man known for his “History of the United States.”

George Bancroft (October 3, 1800 – January 17, 1891) was an American historian and statesman who was prominent in promoting secondary education both in his home state and at the national level. During his tenure as U.S. Secretary of the Navy, he established the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1845. Among his best-known writings is this magisterial series, History of the United States, from the Discovery of the American Continent.

 SGCB Price: $108.95 (list price $240.00)

 SGCB Price: $19.95 (list price $40.00)
This is the Only Volume That Can be Purchased Separately



Bungee Jumping and Investing

A while ago I wrote a post called What Caused the Financial Meltdown? A Guide to Understanding the Collapse in 3 Hours, in which I wrote:

@1:19:45 black woman “I’m being held accountable for my bad choices. But who in that industry is being held accountable?… I’m stupid, but you’re guilty. You’re literally guilty.” Wow. And she’s not guilty for lying? It is this absolute lack of personal responsibility that creates this mess in the first place. People naively think we have reached a certain place in the progress of society where we should no longer have to actually worry about making catastrophic, bad decisions. There will always be a safety net, so I don’t have to worry. This is what “moral hazard” refers to. It is this idea that you are not really at risk for decisions that you make in life. There will always be a safety net to catch you or a safety regulation to keep you from making bad decisions. For example, see Schiff’s comments about FDIC @38:13.

A news report I read this morning reminded me of what I said above.

On Dec. 31, Australian tourist Erin Langworthy became one of thousands of people to try bungee-jumping off the bridge that connects Zimbabwe and Zambia, within sight of the tourist mecca Victoria Falls. It’s 364 meters of sheer gravitational pleasure, followed by a gut-wrenching jerk just feet above the rapids below. The only problem, for Ms. Langworthy, is that her bungee cord broke and she fell into the Zambezi, which, in its quieter areas, is infested with crocodiles.

The reporter went on to make a few comments about being safe in Africa:

One: Tourists who come from litigious societies such as the United States may have an assumption that an activity is safe, because it is allowed to exist. Such an attitude may be reasonable in the US or Australia, but it doesn’t necessarily work in a country such as Zambia, where civil court cases can take decades to resolve.

Living in a nanny-state takes it’s toll on a person’s common sense and personal responsibility. But how could we ever survive without a nanny-state to protect us?

Langworthy’s plunge reminded me of the anecdote of a friend in Johannesburg, who took his clients on a year-end corporate junket to Victoria Falls. The last event was to be a bungee jump off the Victoria Falls bridge. All but one of the clients took the plunge. The one who didn’t jump had asked the bungee operator what would happen if the bungee cord breaks. The tour operator grinned: “We’ll replace it.”

Top Posts of 2011

A little late, I suppose, but here are the most popular posts of 2011:

Resources for Studying the Sabbath

Friends have asked me on more than one occasion what I recommend reading on the Sabbath. I finally got the sense to make a post about it that I can point them to. Since iron sharpens iron, I’ve also included in the list responsible resources opposed to sabbatarianism. If you have any further recommendations, please let me know.

Why So Many People Think of the Sabbath as a Burden

The reason that so many people feel it as a burden is partly that we have so much leisure, we don’t feel the need for the sabbath rest; but more important, I think, is the fact that not many people really enjoy what God intended us to enjoy on the sabbath, namely, himself. Many professing Christians enjoy sports and television and secular books and magazines and recreation and hobbies and games far more than they enjoy direct interaction with God in his Word or in worship or in reading Christian books or in meditative strolls.

Therefore, inevitably people whose hearts are set more on the pleasures of the world than on the enjoyment of God will feel the sabbath command as a burden not a blessing. This is what John says in 1 John 5:3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” The measure of your love for God is the measure of the joy you get in focusing on him on the day of rest. For most people the sabbath command is really a demand to repent. It invites us to enjoy what we don’t enjoy and therefore shows us the evil of hearts, and our need to repent and be changed.

Balance in Application
How is a happy medium in Sabbath observance to be obtained? What will preserve us from undue laxity on the one side, and unwarrantable severity on the other? Where shall we turn for that much-needed guidance which will deliver us from the grievous yoke of Pharisaical excess, and which will also prevent us from degenerating into the lawlessness of our Moderns? We have searched long and diligently for a satisfactory answer to this question, but (amid much that was helpful on other branches of our subject) have failed to meet with anything clear and definite. Personally our firm conviction is that we shall be kept from going wrong in this matter, if we, first, adhere strictly to the letter of the Fourth Commandment; and second, apply that commandment to the details of our lives in the spirit of the New Covenant.
-A.W. Pink The Holy Sabbath

(13) Rather than dictating a detailed list of things forbidden on the Sabbath it is best if ministers and elders enunciate the principles involved and allow each individual or family to prayerfully and conscientiously determine how they will sanctify the Sabbath.


I have heard very good things about this volume: Perspectives on the Sabbath



Pro Articles:

Why Should Christians View the Lord’s Day as the Sabbath? (Richard Barcellos)
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/37359258]
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/18612224]

Interesting Observations

  • Finally, here is an interesting book. I don’t recommend it as an argument, but as a simple observation of the 4th commandment written on the hearts of all men. It’s written by a non-Christian after trying to explain to his daughter where we get weeks from. Read the first 10 pages: The Seven Day Circle: The History & Meaning of the Week
“Unlike the day and the year [and the month], the week is an artificial rhythm that was created by human beings [or their Creator] totally independently of any natural periodicity.” p. 4