Dr. Ben Carson–America the Beautiful

If I could add a book to the required reading list in American high schools it would be America the Beautiful by Dr. Ben Carson.

By now most have heard about Dr. Carson because of his speech given at the National Prayer Breakfast and the subsequent media coverage of the event and of Dr. Carson.

I’ve just finished reading Dr. Carson’s book and I highly recommend it. I recommend it to readers of all ages, and especially to teenagers. Here’s why:

America the Beautiful is an inspiring book by, and about, an inspiring man, Dr. Ben Carson. In this book, subtitled Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great, Carson tells the story of America well, and covers the spectrum of American life, history and culture as shown in the table of contents:

  1. America’s History Of Rebelling For Change
  2. Who Are “We The People”?
  3. Are We A Judeo-Christian nation Or Not?
  4. A Different School Of Thought
  5. Capitalism: Its Pros And Cons
  6. Socialism: Whose Pot Of Soup Is It?
  7. What Is A Moral Nation?
  8. Learning From Our Mistakes
  9. America’s Role In A World At War
  10. Is Health Car A Right?
  11. A Nation Divided
  12. Liberty And Justice For All
  13. What’s Good About America?
  14. What Do We Believe And In Whom Do We Trust?

The genius of this particular book is in Dr. Carson’s weaving of his own personal story into the story of America. By now, you probably know much of that story; a story of a black American growing up in the poverty of the slums of Detroit and Boston and, against the odds, achieving the pinnacle in his chosen profession … medicine.

In the telling of this story Dr. Carson shows an American life that that has experienced all levels of society; from the depths of poverty, through experiences of vicious racial prejudice, the struggles of academic achievement and finally his arrival as an extraordinarily successful and wealthy man, and of his using that pinnacle of wealth as a means to reach out and help others in many ways.

Dr. Carson’s story is one of many similar stories of young people overcoming the very real oppressions of life in poverty and achieving great success. Others that come to mind are:

  • Condoleezza Rice – Stanford University professor, National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush, Secretary of State to President George W. Bush, world class concert pianist.
  • Charles Payne – Journalist, financial advisor, author, CEO of a financial company he founded, co-host of a financial program on the Fox Business Network. 
  • Clarence Thomas — Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • Herman Cain  — Author, business executive, radio host, syndicated columnist, chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Omaha Branch, candidate for the 2012 U.S. Republican Party presidential nomination.

Teens from all walks of life could benefit from reading this book; those from the inner cities and poor rural communities, teens being raised by a single mother as well as those from middle class and wealthy families.

My grandson goes to a high school where there is a mixture of students from all walks of life, and has told me on several occasions of his concern for many of his classmates, and how he sees little hope of them overcoming their situations. A book and a life such as Dr. Carson’s would give hope and inspiration to my grandson as well as those he mixes with on a daily basis; lets give them a shot at such inspiration by making this book widely available to teens.

And one final note … This story is an American story, a story made possible by the the liberty that is deeply engrained in American life and culture; an exceptional America.

Don Johnson – April 2013


4 responses to “Dr. Ben Carson–America the Beautiful

  1. I totally agree with you, Don, regarding the value of Dr. Ben Carson’s books! In fact, I am so enamored by his writing that, after reading America the Beautiful with a breaking speed (within one week), I checked out Take the Risk from a local library and am about half way into it. I think Dr. Carson has a gift of making sense of something profound through story telling, which reminds me of the parables of Jesus. (I think Carson also used parables in some of his speeches)

  2. To have a taste of Dr. Ben Carson’s writing in America the Beautiful, one could look up this blog post on Zondervan’s website which is one subsection (pp. 60-62) in Chapter 5: A Different School of Thought.

    In addition, this is what Dr. Carson observed in this same book (pp. 191-192) regarding the media:

    During the civil rights movement, the media played a tremendous role in changing public perceptions and attitudes with regard to race. If they choose to do so, they could once again play an important role in rectifying the mean-spiritedness that threatens to destroy the harmony and progress of world’s most powerful nation. However, many people make a great deal of money by polarizing people and cultivating a following. It takes very strong character to resist the urge to denigrate others and create a wise and ‘all knowing’ persona for themselves. I suspect that many in the media are pretty entrenched in their way of doing things and are not going to suddenly play fair. I should also point out that some in the media are real patriots and use humor, sarcasm, hyperbole, and satire in an attempt to awaken people to realities of the times in which we live. Ultimately, the people still have the power, and just as they can rid themselves of undesirable politicians, they can vote with their money and remote controls, which will always have a powerful impact on the direction our media takes.

  3. Good remarks Scott. Shortly after I posted my report I was in B&N and noticed Ben Carson’s Gifted Hands (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002D755AI/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=1532201582&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0310214696&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1S9YJCDV1687B258TGT3) on the high school required books table.

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