The Yankee Way: The Blueprint that Created America
Despite having only been a country for a little under two hundred and fifty years, America has a lot of history packed into it. This history stretches back well before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and even before the first European settlers landed on its shores. With such a large swath of land and so long a time, it’s no wonder some parts of the history are glossed over.
Troy Tyson is of the opinion that one such group has been unfairly overlooked: the Yankees of New England. Through them, he argues, and through their unique combination of traits like ingenuity, religious values, and grit, America has been shaped into what it is today. In every chapter, he presents one such trait, explains how it came to be expressed through Yankees, and demonstrates how they used that trait to shape their growing country. As a history book, it is a fascinating read, further illuminating a historical group I had thought I already understood quite well. However, Tyson then goes a step further, presenting the Yankees as an ideal to aspire to, and this is what gave me pause.
Don’t get me wrong: I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and the author presents compelling arguments. Yankee values are certainly worth emulating. I think everyone would agree that a good education and a hard-working population are things well worth supporting. However, I partly disagree with the argument he presents in his conclusion. America, he says, is drawing away from Yankee values, and this is leading to the nation’s decline. While I agree that we could all stand for a return to celebrating thrift and civic virtue, I found some of his conclusions baffling and even reductive. I fail to understand how centering Judeo-Christian values (specifically Protestant, the religion of the original Yankees) would make America a welcoming place for all religions when so many people arguing for a return to “traditional” values are strongly opposed to anything which does not fit their definition of “tradition.” I also felt, despite his insistence that he was merely trying to display the difference between modern-day America and America of yore, he laid a great deal of blame on both Millennials and the counterculture movements of the 1960s for the movement away from Yankee values, without trying to understand why they might make those choices beyond the assumption that they have been coddled and want an easy, pleasant life.
The fact that I disagree with this book is, however, in part why I so recommend it. We are currently in a grand national debate about where this country is headed and should head. The Yankee Way is a new, vital piece in this conversation.
|Page Count||266 pages|
|Publisher||Courant Publishing, LLC|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|