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This volume in the Leaders in Action series is a biographical study of Patrick Henry. This book goes beyond the oratory to portray Henry, whose whole life seemed to embody American courage and patriotism, as well as his family, ideas, and times.
Posted March 30, 2010
The authors of most of the books that I review are people that I do not know. I mean, it is rather impossible for me to have ever met Charles Dickens or Robert Louis Stevenson now, is it not? However, I have had the privilege of meeting and hearing David Vaughan. He is minister of Liberty Christian Church in O'Fallon, MO (about thirty miles west of St. Louis), director of Liberty Leadership Institute, president of Liberty Classical School, host of Encounter radio program, and an editor with the St. Louis Metro Voice newspaper--and a homeschooling father! I was even on his radio program once to talk about homeschooling.
Since he, along with his wife Diane, was invited to speak at our Greater St. Louis Area Home Educators Expo several years ago, and I was chairman of the committee to arrange speakers, I did some research and found that he had written some five books, so I decided to buy and read the ones that I could find. I read his book on Patrick Henry and another about William Wilberforce entitled Statesman and Saint: The Principled Politics of William Wilberforce (2002) to our boys. They are not just biographies; the first half of each is biographical, but the second half draws lessons from their lives for those who would be leaders in today's world. The third book, The Pillars of Leadership (2000) does the latter from the lives of several people--Henry and Wilberforce, plus Christopher Columbus, Robert E. Lee, Booker T. Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Kuyper, G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, and Winston Churchill.
When I was talking with Mrs. Vaughan about the books, she said that she had never heard much about Wilberforce until she read her husband's manuscript, yet he is a man who truly changed the world. I especially liked the way that Vaughan emphasized the fact that Henry and Wilberforce acted out of strongly held Biblical beliefs. He did not attempt to whitewash history, pointing out some of their weaknesses, but neither did he strive to revise it, refusing to judge these men by the politically correct notions of our "enlightened age." Rather, he let their work stand on its own merit for what they accomplished in their day. These are part of a series of books on "Leaders in Action," including those on Anne Bradstreet and John Knox by Douglas Wilson; Theodore Roosevelt by George Grant; Robert E. Lee by Steven Wilkins; George Whitefield, Winston Churchill, and Booker T. Washington by Stephen Mansfield; and C. S. Lewis by Terry Glaspey. If all of them are as good as those by Vaughan, I would heartily recommend the whole lot. You may have to watch out for a little Calvinism here and there, but it really does not take away from the important historical lessons.