A Patriotic IQ Test for the Fourth of July

My fellow Americans, the summer is the perfect time to brush up on your history and stir your patriotic passions. There are buzz-worthy political biographies, deep dives on the Revolutionary War, and hefty new treatises on Hard Choices. Which have you read? And which do you remember? Test your literary chops by identifying the quotes below. They’re all taken from patriotic—or depending on your leanings, at the very least political—titles. If you get more than 5 right, launch the fireworks. You’re a true politico. Less than 5 right? Watch some talking heads and read the books they’re all secretly (or blatantly) pitching.

1. “It is, I believe, the greatest generation any society has ever produced.”

2. “So, it was done, the break was made, in words at least: on July 2, 1776, in Philadelphia, the American colonies declared independence. If not all thirteen clocks had struck as one, twelve had, and with the other silent, the effect was the same.”

3. “They did—with great hardship, courage, pluck, prayerfulness, sadness, joy, energy, and humor—what women do. They put one foot in front of the other in remarkable circumstances. They carried on.”

4. “It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others.”

5. “America’s first families are largely unknowable.”

6. “The biggest surprise was how he was so dependent on her companionship that he was eager to have her join him when he was away from home.”

7. “Society in every state is a blessing, but Government even in its best state is but a necessary evil.”

8. “’Separation of church and state’ meant freedom to worship, not freedom from worship.”

9. “By daring to expose the NSA’s astonishing surveillance capabilities and its even more astounding ambitions, he has made it clear, with these disclosures, that we stand at a historic crossroads.”

10. “I wonder, sometimes, whether men and women in fact are capable of learning from history—whether we progress from one stage to the next in an upward course or whether we just ride the cycles of boom and bust, war and peace, ascent and decline.”


1. The Greatest Generation, by Tom Brokaw

2. John Adams, by David McCullough

3. Founding Mothers, by Cokie Roberts

4. The Summer of 1787, by David O. Stewart

5. The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House, by Kate Anderson Brower

6. Martha Washington, by Patricia Brady

7. A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn

8. A Patriot’s History of the United States, by Larry Schweikart

9. No Place to Hide, by Glenn Greenwald

10.The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama

What are your favorite patriotic books?

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