Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Book Crash Review: John Locke: Philospher of American Liberty by Mary-Elaine Swanson

on August 3, 2013

About the Book (from Amazon): You’ll love this 1600s champion of freedom who helped end the divine right of kings, twitted his friends, and inspired Sherlock Holmes’ reasoning (no kidding). His Biblical-governmental reasoning inspired English and American Bills of Rights and is quoted almost verbatim in our Declaration of Independence. Locke was the most widely read, taught from, and quoted writer in the establishment of American liberty. Jefferson considered him one of the three greatest men who ever lived. This book will inspire and equip Americans to restore and preserve our liberty for future generations! The magnum opus of this accomplished scholar and author will stand as the definitive biography and historical account of the most read and quoted thinker of our Independence era. The Biblical reasoning of John Locke was a major influence on the Founders in formulating American civil liberty. Fully footnoted and indexed.

About Mary-Elaine Swanson: (1927–2011), a historical researcher, educator, and speaker, wrote over 80 short biographies from original research in primary sources, in addition to her award-winning major biography, The Education of James Madison: A Model for Today. As Resident Scholar for American Colonial Studies she co-authored The American Covenant: The Untold Story book and film with Rev. Marshall Foster of The Mayflower Institute, now World History Institute; then as vice-president of the American Christian History Institute, she developed a Study Guide to The Christian History of the United States of America, Vol. 2: Self-Government with Union by Verna M. Hall. Her many presentations and articles included “James Madison and the Presbyterian Idea of Man and Government” published in Religion and Political Culture in Jefferson’s Virginia, “The Monroe Doctrine and the Hemisphere of Liberty,” and “The Law of Nature in John Locke’s Writings: A Break with Classic Natural Law.”
Nordskog is honored to publish posthumously her crowning achievement, John Locke: Philosopher of American Liberty. the Untold Story.

My Opinion:

I hadn’t really paid attention in high school during history (which is sad because I love history) because it was so boring so I hadn’t really known much about John Locke before choosing this book through the Book Crash review program.  That being said, I was not in any way prepared for the size of this book!  I was expecting a quick read (I requested it in December of 2012, supposed to have a review written in 4 weeks, and now it’s August 2013) which it was not.  I was actually thinking of using the book as a read aloud for my children ages 11, 7 and 8 but it will be awhile before I can do that – at least for the 7 and 8 year old.  This book was not one that I could sit and just read and get through, it is 403 pages of history and information on John Locke.

While I said that above, this is a great book – especially if you like history and/or politics, all with the revisionist twist that so often takes place in other mainstream books of this caliber.  It is divided into five parts with and forward written by David Barton of Wall Builders Foundation and an appendix of three documents of rights that were influenced by Lockean governmental philosphy.  The five parts are:

  1. The life and times of John Locke
  2. The glorious revolution: Locke adapted
  3. The American Revolution: Locked adopted
  4. The French Revolution: Locke abandoned
  5. The modern secular state: Locke repudiated

Mary-Elaine Swanson did her homework and created a wonderful work that shows the reader how Locke’s faith in God showed through his life and his politics.  I would definitely say this would be a great book for a high school student who wants to read a living book that is on their level or even an advanced middle school student.  I know I will be coming back to it as we get more into our American history studies and I’ll be encouraging my children to read this book as each of them is able to do so.

You can purchase the book on Amazon (affiliate link by clicking on the image below) or at Nordskog Publishing.

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