GREAT HOLIDAY READING

Yes, I’m still alive.

I hope to return to semi-regular posting with the new year, but it occurred to me just now that Thanksgiving is only two and a half weeks away, so I thought I would take the time to engage in some shameless self-promotion.

On the possibility that some of you might be interested in a book about the history of the holiday, I will be bold and suggest that you consider my own: The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us about Loving God and Learning from History.

The book came out in the fall of 2013 from Intervarsity Press, and it was a labor of love.  For years I had been gradually developing a new sense of vocation.  I believe that academic historians write too much for each other, leaving the public to learn about the past from pastors, talk-show hosts, rap musicians, and other public celebrities.  As a Christian historian, I have come to believe that part of my calling is to be a historian for Christians outside the Academy.  If you are a Christian who is interested in American history, I want to be in conversation with you about what it means to think Christianly and historically about the American past.  That is why I started this blog a few years back, and that is why I spent several years conducting research on the Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving.

I didn’t write The First Thanksgiving primarily because I was enamored with the story and wanted to re-tell it accurately (although I hoped to do so).  Rather, it gradually dawned on me that this familiar story provided the perfect framework for exploring what it means, from a Christian perspective, to remember the past faithfully.  The story of the First Thanksgiving is central to how we, as Americans, remember our origins. The subsequent development of the Thanksgiving holiday speaks volumes about how we have defined our identity across the centuries. As Christians, our challenge is to “take every thought captive in obedience to Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5), including our thinking about our national heritage.  Thanksgiving is a good place to start.

10 responses to “GREAT HOLIDAY READING

  1. Reblogged this on Pilgrim’s Progress revisited – Christiana on the narrow way and commented:
    “As Christians, our challenge is to “take every thought captive in obedience to Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5), including our thinking about our national heritage. Thanksgiving is a good place to start.”

  2. I have read the book and heartily recommend it, not only for its accurate retelling of history, but for its insightful lessons on how to think about history. Am currently reading Ron Chernow’s new biography, “Grant.” It is a block buster at over 900 pages but a delight to read. It is amazing to me how, in the midst of the bloodiest of all wars, both Grant and Lincoln managed to maintain their humanity and their generosity toward their foes.

    • Good book recommendation, Jack. George Will recently wrote a glowing recommendation of Chernow’s book in the Washington Post. Thanks also for your kind words about my book.

  3. I whole heartedly agree. This is a great read, both on the history of Thanksgiving and on the historiography of Thanksgiving.

  4. Rebecca Leavenworth

    Nice to know you’re still out there! This is a great book and I recommend it to others often this time of year – it has changed the way I think of our founding fathers, and our national Thanksgiving celebration. – Rebecca L

  5. George McFarland

    Thanks, Bob. I look forward to these.

    George

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  6. Thanks for checking in with your readers.

  7. 5 November 2017
    Tracy–

    Re: “Rather, it gradually dawned on me that this familiar story provided the perfect framework for exploring what it means, from a Christian perspective, to remember the past faithfully.”

    Yes, and you did an excellent job. Hope to see more.

    Looking forward to your postings in 2018.

    Gary

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