Cover To Cover is the anchor program for GPB’s literary coverage. Cover To Cover features a collection of distinctive Southern voices interviewing Georgia writers, Southern writers, and writers dealing with the South. The GPB Southern Lit Cadre will provide you with a varied, weekly glimpse at fiction, non-fiction, history, poetry, and even the occasional ‘old school’ nod to Flannery O’Connor or William Faulkner.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dr. Stan Deaton Interviews John Ferling About The American Revolution This Sunday on Cover To Cover

Dr. Stan Deaton, Vice-President for Programs and Scholarship for the Savannah-based Georgia Historical Society, takes on the rigors of the GPB Southern Lit Cadre, debuting Sunday night at 8pm with his interview of West Georgia University Professor Dr. John Ferling about his latest book Almost a Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence, published by Oxford University Press.

I visited with Stan about the book and why the American Revolution is still important for all of us to think about from time to time.

GPB: Why did you choose to talk with Ferling about this book?

Deaton: Almost A Miracle is the best single-volume military history of the war now available. Penetrating analysis and graceful prose make this must reading for anyone who seeks to understand that crucial event in American history.

Stan Deaton's Top 9 Reasons for Studying the American Revolution:

1. The American Revolution created a form of govt. that was unique on the world's stage--republicanism: representative government in which the people are sovereign and they in turn give limited powers to the govt., which are enumerated in written constitutions and not dependent on the arbitrary power of an individual; govt. is there to serve the people, not the other way around.

2. The American Revolution was led and secured by the most extraordinary group of Americans who ever lived: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Franklin. They were smart, they were well-read, they were learned, and most importantly they were committed to Enlightenment principles of a secular society based on political and economic liberalism and humanitarian reform.

3. The American Revolution separated Church and State--again, this is unique. Religion in the U.S. would flourish because it would be pluralistic and voluntary, rather than state-supported & monolithic

4. The American Revolution ensured that American life is founded on civil liberties--committed to preserving basic freedoms, like freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of association, and freedom of worship

5. The Revolutionary Generation first grappled with many of the enduring problems we still deal with--race in American society (what is an "inalienable right"?); the proper role of govt. in our lives; the separation of church and state; the growth of party politics; issues of liberty vs. security; states rights v. centralized power; growth of the military in a free society.

6. The American Revolution set in motion the modern egalitarian social and political movements of the 19th and 20th centuries--the abolitionist movements, the women's movement, democratic revolutions, and the civil rights movement.

7. The American Revolution created both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution--two documents that were and are unique in the world and are worth studying all by themselves.

8. The American Revolution established the precedent that Americans have peaceful elections and that they give up power peacefully, exemplified most dramatically by Washington's voluntarily stepping down after two terms and the shift in power from one party to another in the Election of 1800.

9. Finally, the American Revolution established the U.S. as a nation founded on ideas, not ethnicity, not culture, or religion, as so many European, Middle Eastern, and Asian countries would be and are.

Tune in Sunday night at 8pm on Cover To Cover for the conversation between Deaton and John Ferling.