During many decades, books and television have been and still are one of the main sources of getting information. Books were written and printed, and television programs were shot. That is how people from all over the world were informed not only about the current events, but also about the past. However, the TV-programs as well as books were quite different. Some of them were preferred a lot, while others were not so good. Nowadays, everything is the same. There are books, which evoke a desire to reread them from time to time; there are books, which are read only once and then forgotten; moreover, there are even books, which should be forgotten without reading them. One of the books that are even not worth reading is Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black and White by David Barton.
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When one intends to read a book, he or she expects something of it. According to the Barton book’s annotation, it is a unique viewpoint on the moral and religious heritage of African Americans. A special emphasis is put on the unknown yet considerable stories of rich American political history. It is mentioned that the groundbreaking and revolutionary material presented in the book will leave the viewers inspired and amazed.
After reading such an annotation, the reader is amazed and is eager to know the truth about the relations between African Americans and White Americans. Perhaps, the author considered his point of view revolutionary, but the reality is opposite. The public reaction appeared to be not as he expected. In this situation, both the author and the reader are disappointed. The first wanted to show his extraordinary thoughts concerning the issue, and the later expected to see that extraordinary point of view.
While reading the book, the reader expects to know more about the history of African Americans in the United States. He also wants to find out something new about the development of relations between African Americans and White Americans in regard of politics and religion, rather than culture or social sphere of life. The tittle of the book promises to show the author’s point of view concerning the period of slavery, and its influence on the further development of the country. The reader expects to find at least a paragraph telling about American modern life. However, he cannot find it as well as anything concerning a huge contribution of African Americans into the USA development and making it the leading country in the world.
Moreover, the author does not even mention the outstanding African American orators, thinkers, and politicians. He prefers to skip this information. Besides, the book contains some disputable facts. For example, the author states that White Americans treated African Americans badly, if not horribly. Probably, he has forgotten that many African American representatives comprised the Congress right after the Civil War. The point is that during a long time, African Americans were struggling for their right to vote.
Another peculiarity of the book is that it is saturated with propaganda. The author shows the Democratic Party as pro-slavery and racist. He also mentions that the representatives of this party were sure that White Americans should reign above African Americans. On the other hand, the Republican Party was always struggling for the equal right of races. However, there were only slight references supporting this point of view. At the end of the book, Barton states:
As many today have lost their knowledge of the black political history known so well by previous generations of black Americans, and as the black Americans have in recent decades become solidly aligned with the Democratic Party, many African Americans today have picked up the Democrats’ long-standing hatred for Republicans without understanding its origins; yet the racial issues behind the generations-long Democratic hatred for Republicans is well documented. Also well documented is the fact that African Americans made their earliest and some of their most significant political and civil rights gains while affiliated with the Republican Party — and that progress is still continuing in this generation.
Barton mentions that he is simply stating the facts. Indeed, he openly agitates for the Republican Party. Thus, it becomes obvious for the reader and he or she starts doubting all the facts presented in a book. What is more, the reader does not believe the author anymore. The name of the book is Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black and White, but instead of reading about American history one reads about the history of two parties and their attitude towards African Americans.
Besides a quite boring story, the book is written in a bare scientific language, which is difficult to read. Furthermore, there are no chapters or parts, and it also makes it difficult to read. For some readers, this book may seem a long boring historical lecture. In my opinion, it is not worth reading, not only because it is boring, but because there is nothing new except of agitation for the Republican Party. Perhaps, David Barton is a good scholar and prominent writer, and maybe he will write another book about American history and coexistence of African Americans and White Americans. However, this time, he did not cope with the task. In my opinion, this book was written more for politic benefit than for presenting the readers with a true story about African Americans and their relations with White Americans.
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