It's by the History Channel, so of course there's an over-reliance on dramatic re-enactments of Franklin's life. That's hardly academic. The interviews are not as great as they could be. It's good for those just beginning an investigation into Franklin's life and historical importance. There are, however, better DVDs in the AADL collection.
This book tells more about what the author would like to believe, rather than what is true. Jefferson did not like slavery, he said, but he never gave up his more than two hundred slaves. Yes, he had children by his slave mistress Sally. His The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth specifically and deliberately did not mention the alleged divinity of Jesus. He fought for the separation of church and state, not only in the Bill of Rights (the first amendment), but also in the constitution of his home state, Virginia. "I contemplate with sovereign reverence the act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and state." Did he really advocate separation? Yes, he did, and our nation is better off because of the towering genius and brilliant insight of this true American hero.
This book works as a metaphor, I guess, rather than a novel about an animorphic animal. It's pretty simple writing, and more childish than childlike or good for kids. Actually, it's downright sappy. Jonathan has no real character at all, he just represents an ideal. Even the photographs of seagulls are bad. Why this book ever became a best seller I have no idea. It will appeal to the most extreme new agers and the most banal of sentimentalists.
A true story, this book is beautifully, lyrically told of an encounter, with a baby gray whale that she reunited with it's mother. Much more than that, however, it's a gorgeous and even spiritual description of the ocean and the life it holds. Also, it's a subtle yet inescapable statement on the power of optimism and faith - not religious faith, but something far grander. She expresses her faith that it is a marvel and a blessing to be alive, to be able to encounter and connect with life - in all its forms.
I read this book twice in 2012 and cried with joy at the end each time. Having come out of the hospital after a near-death surgery, this was the perfect book to remind me how precious life - all life - truly is.
Read this very special book.
It's all a matter of taste, of course, but when I watch the Simpsons I can't get over the bad animation or the juvenile humor.