What Readers Think

What Readers Think of Bruce’s History Lessons

Bruce, Every article you write is very entertaining and informational. Keep up the good work. It’s the best column in the paper!  Dave Greenetz, Marysville, CA

Dear Bruce, my home town paper the Reading Eagle just did a complete makeover but I was very happy to see that the one unchanged weekly column is your unsurpassed history lessons. It’s the Wednesday edition first read for me!  Also enjoying your book, “Bruce’s History Lessons –  first five years.”  George Hassel, Jefferson Township, MI




Why many Founders thought the Bill of Rights was unnecessary at best and dangerous at worst.

Bruce –  Have just recently discovered your columns in the News-Gazette. I admire your thumb-nail style and ability to make apparently complicated subjects appear simple and understandable. Are you a teacher? (I’d love to take a class from you.) Norma Johnson

Dear Bruce, Since my family completely missed my hints and failed to place a finely-wrapped “Bruce’s History Lessons” book under my tree last Christmas, I (eventually) took matters into my own hands and purchased it for myself last month.  (Procrastination inherited from my dad.)  I’d planned to order a book for my brother, since he also loves American History, but I decided to wait until he’s nicer to me. Anyway, I wanted to drop you this quick note to tell you that I love your book – no surprise there – and feel it a warm honor that you included my personal message to you.  If you ever find yourself near Dubuque, I hope you’ll agree to meet and sign it for me.  In the meantime, keep writing, and be ever thankful for the wonderful gift you’ve been given to share. Kind regards,  Catherine Marty

Mr. Kauffmann, I always look for your articles in the Champaign News Gazette.  I always learn so much from you, and I decided to finally write and let you know that you have an avid reader.  I am of French birth but now an American citizen and loving the USA.  Please, you do not have to answer this note, but feel somewhat proud of yourself, knowing that your writing is enjoyed, appreciated and helping me become more of an American.  Very sincerely. Michele Miller

Mr. Kauffmann – Once again, Great Column.  You do a great service – bringing factual, accurate history to the public. Continue your good work. Sincerely, Roz Dichter, Stroudsburg, PA.

Hi Bruce, I read your article in the Sunday Worcester Telegram here in Massachusetts.  You were spot on with your analysis on the importance of Adams, Hancock, Washington, Madison and Hamilton with their roles as perhaps our greatest Founding Fathers.    Over the years, my father and I have collected every hand written letter or signature from every US President, Vice President and 2/3 of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution.  We built a private museum here in our offices we share.   From time to time, we think of new wings.  Your article brought one up.  Thanks, Brian K. Carroll

Mr. Kauffmann,  I regularly read and enjoy very much your articles which appear in our local Cox newspaper, the Longview (TX) News-Journal.  For several months, I’ve concentrated my “book readings” on the biographies of leaders in the formative years, such as President Lincoln.  Keep up the good work with your articles. Jack Goodwyn

Bruce:  Great article about Emmett Till.  I teach a high school class about the causes and solutions to urban poverty and as part of that class we take a five day immersion trip to Chicago. Mamie Till Mobley was one of our guest speakers for three years before she passed away.  We used to meet in her house and she would share her story with us all packed into her living room floor!  We talked quite a bit on the phone.  Thanks, you did her justice, John Wilson

Hi Bruce, I copy edit your column every week so I have the pleasure of the first read. I really enjoy reading you and have wanted to drop you a line to tell you, but you know that time thing always gets in the way. But I had to stop this week and finally do it. I’ll tell ya, keep it up; reading you is like a small class in history every week.  Thanks, Kim (Tramutola, Sunbury Daily Item, PA)

Bruce:   I enjoyed your column on Abe Lincoln and slavery. You always have the facts right.  From a lifelong Civil War student, Charles Gamm, 35th Illinois Vol. Infantry

Cheerio Mr Kauffmann,  I often read your column with delight as your bring humanity to history lessons. Regarding the journey of Columbus, you have brought much needed and long overdue context to this 1st chapter in American History and with a sense of humor as well.   DV8

Bruce, I read your column every week in the Oregonian and I just wanted to write to say that I appreciate the boost you’ve been regularly giving to the historical reputation of James Madison. He is, in my opinion, the most underrated of our founders (most overrated? Jefferson).  Thanks again for the overdue attention you pay to this great man, and to history in general. Sincerely,  Raymond L. Jicha

Re: UN condemned Zionism in 1975 vote. Another interesting article! I always look forward to your informative historic pieces. Thank you. Donna Meier

Hello Mr. Kauffmann, I enjoy your columns and the one this weekend about Sam Adams was another good one.  In it, you also mentioned James Madison and Alexander Hamilton and I wondered if you might suggest 1-2 books on each?  I understand that Hamilton created the financial system of our country, but I’ve never read a book in detail about him and his role (or perhaps nothing since grade school?). I read ‘John Adams’ and ‘1776’ by David McCullough and was impressed.  But a book on both Madison and Hamilton would be great too. Thanks for your work. Best regards, Matthew Grigas

Bruce: I look forward to your column every week and I always learn something.  You have got to put these things into a book!! Perhaps 2007??   Best regards, Shea McLaughlin

Bruce,  I’m a big fan of your columns and I look forward to reading each new one. There is always much to learn from your historical writing, including your recent column regarding Grant’s real first name.   How interesting!  Sincerely, Larry J. Duly

Dear Bruce,  My name is Gene Greenfield, I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.  I have enjoyed your column over the last year that I have been reading it.  The thing I always appreciate about your columns is that it is quite apparent that you make a concerted effort to be accurate. This I know is not always well received when religious tradition does not line up with historical and scientific facts.  We run into this quite often in our door to door ministry. In any case, thanks.

Your column in the Washington Observer-Reporter is a must read for me every Sunday. Thanks for the very interesting information.  Francis L. King, Washington County Treasurer

Dear Mr. Kauffmann,  I’m sure you are very busy so I will get straight to the point: can you tell me what your birthday is?   I am currently in an AP Government class and my teacher Mr. Draime uses your articles all the time.  You probably don’t know, but we all are on a first name basis with you in class. Because our teacher respects you so much, we were hoping that we could use your birthday as a subject of celebration in an otherwise rather serious class. But since I could not find your birthday on the internet, I hoped I could ask you personally (plus it would be some major brownie points if I could tell Mr. Draime that I corresponded with Mr. Kauffmann himself)  So if you could reply with your birthday, I would VERY much appreciate it. 🙂  Thank you so much for your time!  Brooke Roman, Jackson High School, Massillon, Ohio

Mr. Kauffmann – Your articles are always informative and enlightening. This latest one is no exception. I have studied World War II quite extensively but had never really heard of The Monument Men. I was glad to read about them. They did some great work.  Al Williams

What Teachers Think of Bruce’s History Lessons

Dear Bruce, I always enjoy your historical commentaries as I am also a person interested in how the past has influenced our present time.  I especially enjoyed your Gold Rush story as I teach 7th grade history and we cover the Gold Rush.  I agree with your premise that the gold was not the real treasure and appreciate that you make that distinction.  Sincerely, Doddie L. Stone

Bruce, My name is Matt Skovran and I teach American History to 8th graders in east central Illinois.  In a recent project I was preparing for my students, I noticed that John C. Calhoun was the VP under Quincy Adams and Jackson.  How well did this work and what problems arose from this considering Quincy was a Republican and Jackson a Democrat?  I am assuming not very well because Calhoun was replaced by Van Buren in Jackson’s 2nd term.  I enjoy reading your column every Sunday and have begun reading it my own children getting them hooked on the history bug.   Sincerely,

Dear Mr. Kauffmann, Is there some way to get an electronic copy of your “Madison Planted Seeds for Republic to Grow” (Oregonian last Sunday)?  I would like to post it on my class website.  We have been studying Federalist 10, 48, 51 and they are writing papers and would find your piece very useful. Many thanks. Susan Kirschner, Miller Humanities Center, Lewis & Clark College Portland

Mr. Kauffmann – I write because I am saddened at the lack of “zest” (for lack of a better word) in the public school history textbooks, which is so prevalent in your columns. Your topics bring to mind endless directions for student discussion and further research possibilities. Students would grasp so much more about who we Americans really are (or were) should texts read more like your columns and less like the “conforming” tomes published today.  Gary Coller, 24 year school board member and retired teacher, West Lawn, PA

Hello, Mr. Kauffmann – I am a teacher, I enjoy your columns, and often use them in class, especially your recent column about George Washington, which was titled, at least in our newspaper, “The Man Who Wouldn’t Be King.”   Ruth Koenig, Danville, IL.

Hello, Thank you for your timely article on the vulnerability of Congress in the event of a terrorist attack (Modesto Bee, Sept. 8).  I am an education coordinator and 8th grade advisor with Hickman Charter School and teach a American history/Constitution class each fall.  We discussed this topic last year and I wanted to bring it up again with this new class.  I plan to use your article as a springboard for discussion. Take care and I like your column, Nancy Pittman

Thanks for your article concerning King George III, which I read in the Canton Repository.  I am a 10th grade U.S. history teacher and each year my students are fascinated by King George, his decisions and his ultimate “madness.”  This article is definitely one for my files. Keep writing – your work is appreciated!  Sincerely, Jan Di Carlo

Dear Mr. Kauffmann, I read my 8th grade history class your article about the War Powers Act. We have been learning as much as we can about the same period that you obviously have studied extensively.  There is such a hole in our history education when it comes to the Revolution, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitutional Convention.  I welcome any information you can give me regarding any publications that would help in my quest to teach my students what really happened during this crucial time in our nation’s history.   Thanks again, David Thoming

Dear Bruce, This morning I read your column for the first time and was quite excited to think about your perspective on the origins of our government.  I am a ninth grade teacher who really tries to help my class connect the dots between ancient democracies, such as Greece’s, and our own.  I plan to use your column in my class, but wonder if you have done any others on related topics that I have missed. Thanks. Harley Talkington, Dayton, OH

Hi! My name is Jan Weideman, I teach at the John Marshall High School in Dubuque and read your column in the Telegraph-Herald.  Many of the teachers here enjoy your column as well, especially the one this past week on John Marshall, whom — as you can guess — our school is named after. We all shared it with our classes. Thanks for such enjoyable and educational reading!

Hi Bruce, I want to thank you for the wonderful column you write.  I teach American history and often use your column in my classroom.  I find that your articles hold the attention of the students because they are written at a level they understand, are concise and interesting to read.  I love that you do not only give the facts but tie the story to the culture of the times. Keep up the great work. Sincerely, Jean J. DiGiacomo Reading, PA

Hello Bruce, I enjoy your informative and insightful articles that appear in my local newspaper in Muskegon, Michigan, and even use them in my classroom. A friend and fellow history teacher, Ed Breitenbach

Bruce, As a History teacher and audiophile I particularly enjoyed your clever and informative story on “G.I. Elvis”.  You are correct to say that “he was soon…turning out chart toppers.”  It’s Now or Never, released July 1960, became his biggest selling international hit ever. While beautiful in its way, Elvis had clearly taken on a more mature sound, reaching back to a time before Rock and Roll. Based on an Italian song he’d heard while stationed in Germany, he had the lyrics rewritten for himself. His early hard edged rock and roll sound was now gone (which I think contributed to his gradual decline in popularity.)  Thanks, Wes Schenken

Dear Mr. Kauffman, A neighbor of mine recommended your column, and I read it in the Oregonian for the first time last week.  It was the story of the USS Indianapolis, and I found it very interesting and quite sad. I am writing to you because I am a middle school science teacher who has been given a new assignment:  two periods of 8th grade U.S. History for the coming school year.  I would like to be able to share stories like your “history lessons” with my students, and I was wondering if you have your stories posted on-line or somewhere that I could access them.  I am planning on teaching early U.S. history, from the explorers through the early 1900s.  I would appreciate any help you could give me.  I teach in the Stanfield School District in Eastern Oregon. Amy Kaser, Stanfield Secondary School, 1120 N. Main, Stanfield, OR  97875

Dear Mr. Kauffmann, I read your column on George Mason in the Sunday, June 13 Champaign, Illinois News-Gazette.  It is a good piece reminding us of an important and neglected American founder.  Best regards, Timothy Fuller Department of Political Science, Colorado College

To Whom It May Concern: I am a teacher at Chapman University. I am interested in getting an online copy of the article that appeared in the Modesto Bee on 4-18-04 titled “Shakespeare by any other name-like Edward de Vere.”  I want to print it out and give copies to my students for part of an English project I am doing. I cannot locate it on the Modesto Bee’s website, and was hoping you could send me the article.  I just need to distribute copies of the article.  I need this for educational purposes only. Can you please send me the article no later than Tuesday June 1?? Thank you, Lisa Kellert

Just thought you’d like to know that there are many of us teaching American Literature in the public school system who still use Emerson’s writings in class…especially the one you mentioned in your article.  His might not be easy to understand…but they’re well worth the effort !!!  Thanks for bringing him up and thanks for brightening my Tuesdays,  dsk