In honor of Independence Day, I am reviewing The Portable Patriot. This is a collection Revolution-era documents compiled to highlight (as the editors claim), “The American Soul.”

First of all, I want to say how glad I am that this book is a collection of documents rather than a book about those documents. Studying history from source material is extremely valuable but seldom done. This book provides a wealth of source material in studying the build up to revolution and the founding of the United States.

Given the sheer amount of source material, it is important to consider the intent of the editors in selecting material to include. Editors, Joel J. Miller and Kristen Parrish are attempting to show a connection between ideas and action. To do this, they have included the major documents one expects (Declaration of Independence, US Constitution, Federalist Papers, etc) alongside correspondence amongst those involved. It is a combination that works to show this connection.

However, to truly compile such documents and such correspondence together would require volumes of work, not one, small, 265 page book. The work here is brief. It is, at best, a summary. It’s a start. My hope for this book is two-fold: that it provide a much needed relief from the amount of punditry being passed off as serious political discourse, and that it sends people to the source documents of history for further understanding.

Though not a scholarly work in history, I would recommend this book to anyone caught up in the political fervor of our times or to the apathetic that need to begin to understand.

Disclaimer: Thomas Nelson Publishers provided this book to me free of charge in exchange for a review. I am under no obligation to recommend the book and the opinions here are my own.