The Pledge: A History of the Pledge of Allegiance

Jeffrey Owen Jones and Peter Meyer, St. Martin's/Dunne, $23.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-312-35002-4
The late producer, journalist, and teacher Jeffrey Jones partnered with former Life magazine news editor Peter Myer for this well-rounded view of the pledge of allegiance. Beginning with its 1892 composition by clergyman Francis Bellamy, the pledge is understood by Meyer and Jones as a product of unstable times, years shaken by Civil War, changing demographic makeup, and increasing economic disparities. Initially a prayer for "intelligent patriotism," the pledge has worked both to unite and divide Americans, and it is this capricious nature that so interests Jones and Meyer—from its original celebratory use as a flag salute at a Columbus Day commemorative hosted by Youth's Companion magazine to its position as a tool to emphasize the principle separation of church and state to its usage as a bulwark against the presumed threat of communism under the Eisenhower administration. Myers and Jones effortlessly pull from their trade, an impressive array of newspapers, magazines and other literature—sewing together a book that succeeds admirably in portraying the pledge as a living oath capable of maturing with and reflecting the attitudes of an ever-evolving nation. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/2011
Release date: 10/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-4299-8079-1
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