American Story

Among the many fascinating places worth visiting in Washington DC, the Library of Congress is one of my favorites. This is the world’s largest library, with an amazing collection of over 171 million books, recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps and manuscripts. Every title copyrighted in the U.S. makes its way into the library.

Set in this gilded and majestic setting, imagine listening to historians talk about America’s history and its storied leaders. Over a time, philanthropist David M. Rubenstein brought members of Congress together in a nonpartisan environment to hear about the unique history we share through interviews of American historians. Thanks to this wonderful book, we can listen in this shared story too.

The conversations are interesting and engaging. I found myself agreeing to some comments, laughing aloud at some observations and making mental notes about the books I want to read in detail. I learned about so many interesting things– the role of Charles Lindbergh as our first celebrity, a visual image of Washington DC in the days of George Washington, the fascinating life of Alexander Hamilton, Lyndon B Johnson’s support of the Civil Rights Act and another look at Martin Luther King’s struggles.

It is wonderful to hear the voice of the late Cokie Roberts as she narrates the qualities of Abigail Adams. Through her letters, we can see how Abigail Adams, with limited education, was just as smart and articulate as her lawyer husband.

The icing was the conversation with Chief Justice John Roberts. When he said “People’s success is not always due to their own efforts and neither is their failure.” I found myself nodding in acknowledgment.

Here’s a collection of photographs from a visit to the Library of Congress.

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