These notes are intended to make you aware of any issues with This Country of Ours and to help you to correct or counterbalance them when reading or discussing the book with your child. Occasionally you will need to edit the material, omitting or replacing a short section. More often you will need to add information. With the help of these notes, you should find that This Country of Ours is a living book you can use with confidence.
This Country of Ours has been chosen for its combination of narrative style with historical detail. It is very much a living book and as yet we have been unable to find a comparable Catholic text.
The content of This Country of Ours is not in itself particularly problematic for Catholics, but it is short on specifically Catholic aspects of American history. This is why we have added The Catholic Faith Comes to the Americas as a supplement.
The author, H.E.Marshall was writing from a Protestant perspective. Nothing in her writing suggests that she had any deliberate intent to be anti-Catholic, but she is clearly influenced by her Protestant background and the truth as she understood it. We feel that the benefits of using this book outweigh any disadvantages which can be easily offset by discussion and judicious editing.
As with all history there is always the possibility of error and so we ask those of you with a historical bent to point them out to us (with supporting evidence of course) and/or to offer counter-balancing information from a Catholic perspective.
While This Country of Ours is a substantial text, ideally you should also try to read at least one of the recommended reading books each term to get the fullest picture of American history. However, if this book is all you manage to read, your child will still have a good grounding in the history of The United States.
The United States and its Territories
Before beginning This Country of Ours it would be a good idea to look at a map with your child and become familiar with the geography of the United States.
Chapter 9: How the Spaniards Drove the French out of Florida
You may want to skip this chapter. At the very least you will want to pre-read it. While it does seem to be historically accurate it is rather graphic and depicts behavior from Catholics that children of this age do not need to read about.
Chapter 56: The Darkest Hour –Trenton and Princeton
We have found that some editions of TCOO have the date wrong for Washington’s crossing of the Delaware. It should be 1776, not 1771.
Chapter 67: Jefferson–How the Door to the Far West Was Opened
In this chapter about the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Sacagawea is not mentioned at all. You will want to add additional reading here.
If you would prefer not to use this text, alternatives for this level (but that are also not Catholic) are:
Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans and A First Book in American History by Edward Eggleston
American History Stories, Volumes I-IV by Mara L. Pratt
Little Stories of Well-Known Americans and Little Stories of a Big Country by Laura Large
The Story of the Thirteen Colonies and the Great Republic by H.A. Guerber