Monday, March 30, 2015

The American Catholic Almanac--My Review

About the Book:
They’re all Catholics who have shaped America. In this page-a-day history, 365 inspiring stories celebrate the historic contributions of American men and women shaped by their Catholic faith. From famous figures to lesser-known saints and sinners, The American Catholic Almanac tells the fascinating, funny, uplifting, and unlikely tales of Catholics’ influence on American history, culture, and politics. Spanning the scope of the Revolutionary War to Notre Dame football, this unique collection of stories highlights the transformative role of the Catholic Church in American public life over the last 400 years.

Did you know…
• The first immigrant to arrive in America via Ellis Island was a 15-year-old Irish Catholic girl?
• Al Capone’s tombstone reads “MY JESUS MERCY”?
• Andrew Jackson credited America’s victory in the Battle of New Orleans to the prayers of the Virgin Mary and the Ursuline Sisters?
• Five Franciscans died in sixteenth-century Georgia defending the Church’s teachings on marriage?
• Jack Kerouac died wanting to be known as a Catholic and not only as a beat poet?
• Catholic missionaries lived in Virginia 36 years before the English settled Jamestown?

My Comments:
I love reading about my people and this book features 365 of them, one for every day of the year.  There are men and women, lay and religious, priests and politicians.  While a bit heavy on the Irish (but then I wonder, percentage-wise, what percent of American Catholics are of Irish descent) it covers both cradle Catholics and converts (did you know that Buffalo Bill converted on his deathbed).  We learn about Stagecoach Mary "a sharp-shooting, whiskey-drininkg, cigar-puffing, pants-wearing, punch-throwing, six-foot-tall former slave" who loved the Ursuline Sisters and about Fanny Allen, a socialite who became the first known woman from New England to become a nun.  

Each biography is only a page long so it is a perfect book to pick up, read a page or two and then save for later.  

I'd like to thank the publisher for sending me a complimentary review copy.  Grade:  B+

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