Jenna Robinson’s latest Martin Center column focuses on a history textbook that bucks current trends.

From the very beginning, it’s clear that Wilfred M. McClay’s Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story isn’t a typical textbook. The title alone alerts readers that McClay’s book will not be the kind of history text that has become so popular in today’s high school and college courses—a diatribe against America’s many sins. Instead, it is an accurate, but loving, story of our country and our shared culture. McClay describes his book as “a patriotic endeavor as well as a scholarly one.”

In his introduction, McClay explains that the purpose of his text is:

“to offer to American readers, young and old alike, an accurate, responsible, coherent, persuasive, and inspiring narrative account of their own country–an account that will inform and deepen their sense of the land they inhabit and equip them for the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship.”

McClay is just the person to provide such an account. …

… Land of Hope is the kind of book I wish I’d had for my own Advanced Placement U.S. History course back in high school. I don’t remember now which book was used, but it was dull and uninspiring. It distilled the great American story into boring lists of facts and “concepts” to memorize. Land of Hope includes the same material, but in a much more engaging and naturally memorable way. Reading it is inspirational rather than merely a chore.

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that Land of Hope will be widely adopted. With today’s politicized and “internationalized” AP U.S. History curriculum, Land of Hope would be a poor fit.

Instead, parents and grandparents who care about their children’s understanding of their own country and culture should purchase Land of Hope as a supplement to the history that students learn in school.