"This book is a delightful Grand Tour, taking us from war to sports to great literature. You will enjoy it." Jay Mathews, Education reporter for The Washington Post
A Call to Heroism
Renewing America's Vision of Greatness
978-0-8021-4028-9 • $13.00 • Paperback • Sep. 2003
Now is a time of rejuvenated interest in heroes in America. In the past months we have come to a new appreciation of the heroes of our past—and a greater recognition of the heroic acts of those we have lost. But what are we to look for in heroes who walk among us today? And what are we to expect of our heroes as we prepare for the trials of an uncertain future?
In A Call to Heroism, Peter H. Gibbon argues that heroic ideals are fundamental to the enterprise of American liberty and to the very fabric of our nation's culture. In tracing the evolution of our collective vision of greatness from the age of our founders to today's celebrity-obsessed media age, he concludes that although our reverence for these ideals may have eroded along the way, we now have a unique opportunity to forge a new understanding of what it means to be a hero, one that will fortify the next generation of American leaders as we engage the challenges that lie ahead.
Gibbon believes that our multicultural society of dreamers and achievers can be brought together through cherishing the exemplary individuals of our history—men and women who have sacrificed for causes greater than themselves. These include not only traditional civic heroes—statesmen and warriors like George Washington—but also heroes of ideas and conscience: scientists and educators like Thomas Edison and Horace Mann, and religious leaders and civil rights activists like Martin Luther King Jr. and Lucretia Mott.
As he surveys the lives, struggles, and accomplishments of these and other great individuals, he also contemplates the meanings of seven monuments and artworks dedicated to heroes, including the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, Jean-Antoine Houdon's bust of Benjamin Franklin, and Mount Rushmore, to examine what these memorials say about the America of their time—and what they mean for us today.
Full of insight and inspiration, A Call to Heroism is a provocative look at a timeless subject that has never been more important.