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Battlefields and Blessings
Reading Guide

Welcome to the Battlefields and Blessings Reading Guide from our American History Book Club. This discussion is beginning in April, 2012. We invite you to join in and read Battlefields and Blessings, Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War by Jane Hampton Cook with us.

Battlefields and Blessings by Jane Hampton Cook

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On this page you will find the beginnings of our regular postings for each chapter of the book that will include a short synopsis of the chapter, interesting parts that we would like to point out, discussion questions to provide food for thought and prominent quotes that point out the major themes of the chapters.

As you read along with us, we invite you to post your own comments with the Facebook comments at the bottom of the page. You can post here whether you have a Facebook account or not. If you do have a Facebook account, your post will appear on this page, as well as on your own Facebook page, so your friends can join in the discussion too.

If you decide to read along with us, please let our group know who you are in the comments as well! And if you do leave a comment about the reading, be sure to tell us which chapter you are referring to!

And do please join in the discussion if you can. The more people that participate, the more we will get out of it! Our intent is to create a community of learners about the Founding Fathers and the foundation of America.

If you aren't able to join in the discussion from the beginning, don't worry, you can join in any time. Just order your copy from your favorite bookstore and join in when you can!

Find out about our other current book discussions at our American History Book Club page.

Battlefields and Blessings

Battlefields and Blessings, Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War is a daily devotional that brings the American Revolution to life through the viewpoints of the Revolution's key players - George Washington, King George III, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, Nathanael Greene, Henry Knox and Benjamin Franklin.

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Excerpts of their original manuscripts, letters and speeches give the book authenticity and accuracy. Each week features five stories that chronicle the Revolutionary War, looking at the events of the times from the perspectives of those who participated in them, especially featuring their viewpoints from a spiritual perspective.

The Sunday devotional section highlights a sermon from the Revolutionary era that reveals the spiritual struggle facing the patriots as they decided to pursue independence, take up arms and form a new government that better represented the people. The week concludes with "The Revolution Today," taking a modern-day twist on topics presented in the preceding stories.

Jane Hampton Cook was the official webmaster for President George W. Bush and designed his government websites when he was Governor of Texas and as President, including his www.whitehouse.gov and www.white-housekids.gov websites.

You can order Battlefields and Blessings by clicking on the Amazon image to the upper right. Click here if you are interested in ordering the Kindle edition. If you aren't too familiar with ebook readers, click here and we'll explain a little more about them to you.

Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War
Reading Guide

Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War
by Jane Hampton Cook

Week 1

Synopsis

  • Prologue - What is a revolution?
  • A young George Washington credits God with saving him from four bullets that went through his clothes at the Battle of the Monongahela.
  • Washington's name is spread around the colonies and to England as he is praised for his valorous behavior at the battle. He is 22 years old.
  • The future King George III's youth and his mentor's doubts about his character.
  • The King loses the most valuable gem from his crown on the day of his coronation - an omen of what is to come?
  • The Reverend Benjamin Colman preaches at the 100th anniversary celebration of Boston's Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company.

Discussion Questions

  • Explain in your own words what John Adams meant when he said the American Revolution was not a war of guns, but instead was in the minds and hearts of the people?
  • George Washington and many people in his day saw his preservation at the Battle of Monongahela as the intervention of God to preserve him for a divine purpose in his life. If you had such a narrow escape from death, how would you view it?
  • Already in the reading, you can see a widespread faith in God and an attempt to adhere to the Bible by a vast portion of colonial and British society. Is society different today? If so, why? Is this a good thing or bad thing?

Things That Caught Our Eye

  • What is it that actually caused the British soldiers to run in fear from a small band of French and Indians at the Battle of Monongahela? It seems that they were overconfident in their own position as the largest military empire on earth. Fat, lazy and proud, so to speak. When faced with a real battle they couldn't face it and ran. Those who are apparently the strong and powerful ones aren't always so.
  • The term "Providence" was a commonly used reference in colonial America when speaking of God. George Washington claimed in his letter that he believed God had personally intervened to protect him in battle. Yet in modern days, certain individuals claim Washington was an atheist or at best an agnostic, believing in an impersonal and distant God, rather than a personal and present God. Have they read this letter?
  • What an interesting contrast to compare the young George Washington with the young Prince George who would one day be king. A fascinating account of the Prince's mentor worrying about George's character qualities and doubting whether he would make a good king. Character traits start young.

Quotes

  • "'What do we mean by the American Revolution?...' The American Revolution began long before the first musket flared.'The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations,' [John] Adams explained."
  • "The American Revolution was not simply a war. It was a transformation of the colonists' hearts and souls... For most, the change came more slowly, after a longtime wrestling in their hearts over their allegiances, beliefs, and capabilities... 'This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution,' Adams wrote."
  • "The Reverend Samuel Davies spoke about Washington in a sermon he gave a month after Braddock's defeat. 'As a remarkable instance of this, I may point out to the public that heroic youth, Colonel Washington, whom I cannot but hope Providence has hitherto preserved in so signal a manner for some important service to his country,' Davies proclaimed prophetically."

Comment on this chapter

Thanks for reading Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War with us. If you have not yet ordered the book, you can order one from Amazon here - Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War

Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War
by Jane Hampton Cook

Week 2

Synopsis

  • The Reverend Jonathan Mayhew has a personal transformation in which he sees civic responsibility as a moral issue and tyranny in government something to be justly challenged.
  • Benjamin Franklin's desire to live a simple life.
  • Benjamin Franklin's thoughts on diligence.
  • Benjamin Franklin on thrift and economy.
  • Franklin's involvement at the Albany Convention.
  • Franklin's diligence and manner of life lead to his receiving several royal posts and his moving to London.
  • Thoughts on contentment.

Discussion Questions

  • Benjamin Franklin was very candid about his desire to succeed in business and earn more money. The Puritan ideal of thrift was not the same thing as disdain for wealth, but rather was the idea of handling money wisely. Today, many people disdain those with large amounts of money or those who desire to have it, thinking them to merely be greedy. Is wanting to have more money right or wrong? Does it imply greed? What do you think of Franklin's candid admission that he desired more money?
  • Adams talked about the Revolution taking place in the hearts of people. Franklin desired to have a heart of contentment. What is the "heart" of a person? Why must things take place in the heart before they can happen in the world?
  • Franklin saw the promise of Proverbs 22:29, that the diligent would stand before kings, literally come to pass in his life. If you became a person of true moral excellence and integrity, what could you achieve? Where could you go in life?

Things That Caught Our Eye

  • Benjamin Franklin's attention to character issues such as diligence, thrift, appearances to others, etc., is truly amazing. If only we had more focus on such things today! Maybe things wouldn't be in such a mess?
  • The Albany Convention is a fascinating event in understanding American history. It was the first time the idea of forming a unified government of the North American colonies was considered and debated. Franklin was truly prescient in understanding the need for and benefits of such a union.
  • Equally important to understanding American history is the fact that each colony was essentially a separate kingdom with its own constitution, laws and habits. You can't understand American history without it. The fact that they eventually put down their differences and cooperated to the degree they did is amazing.

Quotes

  • "Franklin learned his diligent work ethic from his father, who frequently cited Proverbs 22:29: Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men... I from thence considered industry as a means of obtaining wealth and distinction, which encourag'd me, tho' I did not think that I should ever literally stand before kings, which, however, has since happened; for I have stood before five, and even had the honor of sitting down with one, the King of Denmark, to dinner, Franklin wrote in his memoirs."
  • "When you are inclined to buy chinaware, chintzes, India silks, or any other of their flimsy, slight manufactures... all I advise is to put it off till another year, and this, in some respects, may prevent an occasion of repentance." - Benjamin Franklin
  • "The Plan of Union presented in Albany planted a seed in the minds of these disconnected colonies. It made them wonder what would happen if they formed a common government."
  • "Poor Richard's sold ten thousand copies annually, which made Franklin an unparalleled celebrity."

Comment on this chapter

Thanks for reading Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War with us. If you have not yet ordered the book, you can order one from Amazon here - Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War

Battlefields and Blessings Reading Guide Chapters

Weeks 1 and 2 Weeks 3 and 4 Weeks 5 and 6
Weeks 7 and 8

Thanks for reading Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War with us. If you have not yet ordered the book, you can order one from Amazon here - Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War


Last Updated 4/23/12

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