Originally published 29 December 2004
Country United States of America
Subject U.S. History
Page count 944
|Publication date December 29, 2004 (Hardcover), February 27, 2007 (Paperback)|
Media type Print (Hardcover, Paperback)
Similar Larry Schweikart books, Non-fiction books
A Patriot's History of the United States: From Columbus's Great Discovery to the War on Terror is a 2004 book on American history by Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen. Written from a conservative standpoint, it is a counterpoint to Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States and asserts that the United States is an "overwhelmingly positive" force for good in the world. Schweikart said that he wrote it with Allen because he cannot find an American history textbook without leftist bias.
After being recommended by talk-show host Glenn Beck, the book quickly rose to the top of the New York Times and Amazon.com bestseller lists.
In a review of the Schweikart/Allen book in the conservative magazine National Review, Matthew Spalding of the Heritage Foundation wrote that "A Patriot's History rejects the economic determinism of Beard and Zinn, and others who 'wrongly assume that people were (and are) incapable of acting outside of self-interest.'" Spalding continued:
Anything that has to do with patriotism has long been controversial in academic circles. The idea that the teaching of American history might actually foster patriotism is to some deeply problematic. The rejected assumption, which is the foundation of A Patriot's History, is that there are principles and purposes reflected in American history that make this imperfect country worthy of our affection, and that honest history should explain those principles and illustrate those purposes as the centerpiece of our nation's story.
Reviewing the book in the journal The History Teacher, David Hoogland Noon was strongly critical of it. According to Noon, the book's peculiar priorities – it "devotes a single paragraph to the Japanese internment while squandering an entire page with denunciations of liberal historians and their treatments of the subject" – as well as the omission of landmark works from its sources, suggest "ignorance of the basic parameters of actual historical scholarship". Moreover, according to Noon, "the authors make claims that are not even remotely endorsed by the footnoted sources". "Written for an audience of the previously converted," Noon concluded, "this book is hardly worth anyone else's time."
Criticizing the book from a conservative perspective, Paul Gottfried in the The American Conservative characterized A Patriot's History as an example of neoconservative historiography:
Schweikart, a regular on Fox News, takes to task leftist historians who disparage America's past or glorify the expansion of public administration... Yet many of the views that this patriotic historian considers far leftist are actually those of the Old Right... [The] broad area of agreement about heroes and villains — and about how we reached the glorious present by overcoming the prejudices of the past — unites the liberal and patriotic versions of American history. This is the new consensus history, and it leaves little room for the Old Right's take on the past to get a fair hearing.
In his review of the book in the Wall Street Journal, Brendan Miniter called a Patriot's History a "fluent account of America from the discovery of the Continent up to the present day."