Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
As someone with a degree in history and as a former high school history teacher, I was very interested to read The Hidden Message of the Great Seal: How Foundational Truth from The Dawn of Liberty May Rescue a Republic in Peril by Michael Kanis. This paperback book is published by The Hidden Message, LLC with full-color, glossy pictures to help detail the message and explanation of the Great Seal. There are charts, a timeline, and many direct quotes to help present a message that has been hidden for over 230 years as interpreted by the author.
"There is a mission for this book that goes beyond the message of the seal. The message is part of it, but it is only the beginning. What you will discover when you read The Hidden Message is that there is a mission and calling for each American. This calling is a trust that you have inherited as a keeper of the republic." (quote from The Hidden Message of the Great Seal's mission statement)
|author Michael Kanis|
Before Kanis begins to examine the Great Seal of the United States in the book, he explains his motivation and approach. He pursued the clues to discover the meaning of allegory, studied the men who were involved in the creation of the Great Seal, employed heraldry, and applied the meaning of the allegory to the people that it was meant to serve - the people of the United States. Attention is also given to the misconceptions held about the seal such as that is associated with the occult, the Illuminati, or Freemasonry. In each chapter, Kanis attempts to help us follow along with his approach so we can better understand the symbols used (like the eye), the men who were involved (like Francis Hopkinson), and the links between the Great Seal and other coins, seals, and jetons of foreign nations (like the Netherlands).
The Hidden Message of the Great Seal is a large paperback book of 256 pages with endnotes. As it is a coffee table-sized book, I found it a bit difficult to sit down and read. I appreciate the idea of having a larger book so that full-color photos could be larger but I think I would have preferred it to be about half the size to make for easier holding in my hands. And as the pages are of a glossy type, I think it might be more difficult if someone wished to take notes within the book itself. (For the purpose of this review, I took notes on index cards and kept them in the book.)
I really wanted to enjoy reading The Hidden Message of the Great Seal. I was intrigued to see how the symbols used are not connected to things that people often point out. People are so quick to state that the eye is that of Horus and is therefore pagan and that the pyramid links back to the Egyptians (another pagan reference).
I don't know whether I am convinced as to the arguments put forth by Kanis. I think it will take more than one reading of this book to truly be able to discern all the information presented. If one is unfamiliar with English history, early American history, Biblical studies, or early religious history, then they might need to stop and research a bit before moving onto each following chapter. For example, Kanis spends time addressed Charles I, the English Civil War, and Oliver Cromwell to better explain one of the early mottos: "Rebellion to Tyrants Is Obedience to God." Now I just so happen to love British history so I was already familiar with these events but if you were not a student of this period of British history, you might be confused.
How Can You Use The Hidden Message of the Great Seal in Your Homeschool?
I can think of a number of ways in which you could use this book in your homeschool. As it is a lengthy book, I have been the only one in my family to read it but I do plan on passing it along to our teen son to read so we can discuss it. I think it will fit in nicely as he is studying the American Government this homeschool year.
The book can be read for a homeschool history course, government course, or social studies course at the high school level. Reading The Hidden Message of the Great Seal can also help children see how to and how not to present an opinion or argument in a written work. Reading this work of historical non-fiction will help them be able to better present their own historical cases. While reading the book, you can also focus upon the Latin as part of Latin courses or studies. To demonstrate an understanding of the work, your children can create their own timeline of events similar to what is presented in the book.
There is a list of things that we can do to defend freedom provided by the author that includes writing to someone in government, attending a town hall meeting, and other great ideas that anyone can incorporate into their lives. This list is part of an entire chapter on freedom that might be interesting to read and discuss with your children. The author discusses how the individuals involved in the American Revolution viewed freedom and how it is tied to virtues.
I think that The Hidden Message of the Great Seal is a book that requires each reader to make their own decision regarding whether or not the author proved his point. I believe individuals might come to the reading of this book with lots of preconceived notions and therefore each person will need a different level of explanation, examination, and presentation of research to determine whether or not they agree with Kanis' point of view.
At the very end of the book, Kanis presents an image of the Great Seal that he believes is an accurate and faithful representation of the congressional report. Throughout The Hidden Message of the Great Seal, we view the Great Seal in various stages and finally we see the culmination in what the author believes it was meant to look like.
Whether or not one agrees with all the points that Kanis makes in his work, I think readers can still walk away feeling a renewed desire to support virtue and justice in the United States. The founders of the United States of America wished to create a nation for future generations and citizens of today can continue to work for a better nation for our children.
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