As I mentioned in my previous posts, The Way of Improvement Leads Home was required reading for Bledsoe County’s “Teaching American History” seminar on colonial America. Before I arrived in Tennessee, the teachers were asked to discuss the book in an on-line forum. (Some of them posted their thoughts after I arrived). Jim, the program’s computer whiz, has given me permission to post a few snippets from some of their reviews.
I’m into chapter 6 and I can’t wait to see what happens to Philip next!!!
Fithian’s inner struggle to be at his home in Cohansey or to be “enlightened” was sometimes heartwrenching, while his evolution from yeoman to cosmospolitan man was fascinating.
Young people in rural areas could really relate to the struggles Fithian faces when it comes to things such as love, family obligations, and devotion to one’s local area
Overall I enjoyed reading about Philip Fithian’s life. To be able to understand and appreciate the life in the colonies before the revolutionary war and empathize how religion evolved in our early history on a deeper level was intriguing. By reading and understanding Philip and his way of self-improvement, it can help me bring to light some of the struggles the colonists were faced with… The love story between Philip and Betsy also was attention-grabbing.
As I went through the book I found that I couldn’t put it down. When I read about all the things he did for fun in college, I thought “wow they weren’t just a lot of uptight religious types, they actually had fun.” Anyway, this was a very interesting and useful book…
It was really a treat to hear the author talk about his book today and tell why he came to chose this subject. I think I understood how John was trying to establish Philip’s sense of place and his strong connection to it by occupation, family and religion. I did not fully understand the Enlightenment and its connection until today after John’s lecture. It is now clear how Philip merged the ideas of the Enlightenment and his strong religious convictions. Philip in a sense embodies what we now see as the American Dream in its infancy…This is a excellent and thought provoking book that contains alot more than what is on the surface. It gives one a feel and understanding for the time…
I really liked the first two chapters. Many of the points seem so relevant to my own experience. The way Dr. Fea shows Philip’s inner conflict is so very close to my own experience it was scary at times.