Dr. Harold Kirsh spoke at the National Liberty Museum about his new book Thank You, America: A Pictorial and Anecdotal History of the United States.
Describing himself as politically in the center, Kirsh displayed beside him on the podium paintings of the presidents playing cards; on his left were Andrew Jackson, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter, and to his right were Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, Dwight Eisenhower, and George Bush I and II.
After his discussion, Kirsh sold and autographed copies of the book.
More after the jump including a preview of the chapter on POTUS #1 George Washington.
This book is a complete history of the United States, based on using the presidents as the main characters (in) a play that takes place in a theater of American history that occurs each week over of a year. The forty-four presidents are reviewed, from Washington through Obama. It’s a history of the United States based, however, on the presidents as the chief character (of a play)… and based on the factors that helped mold their character, the influences they had on them as young people, the influences of their mothers, fathers, and grandparents, teachers, clergy, events, and locale, to make them the kind of people that they were when they became presidents –‘As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.’
I found out (that) by doing that for all forty-four presidents, I understood that if you’re going to vote for a presidential candidate the next time, you needn’t see if he was a mayor, governor, or congressperson, you look back to see how he was as a young person. In all of us, the character we have as young people remains as our core values. If you’re satisfied with voting on the basis of that, you’re pretty well assured you’re going to get (someone) who’s honest, trustworthy, who has the proper purposes, who may or may not have faith, but you’ll know what you’re getting.
And then, I take it all the way through their campaigns and their inaugural addresses and what they promised they would do, and then I’d look into their biography to see those factors. I take it all the way through to whatever they did to their demise, while the next president is waiting behind the scenes ready to come out. All the facts are there, (but) it’s presented fictionally, as though my wife and I attend a theater each week; when the curtain goes up, you see the setting the country is in at that particular time in history, (and) you see the president come on the stage.
Kirsh, 87, was born in South Philadelphia. And his family moved to Collingswood, New Jersey in his childhood. He studied undergraduate at Temple University and then at the Osteopathic Medical School, interned in Missouri, and then opened his practice in Cherry Hill, New Jersey: “I was the first doctor to practice in that town,” he recalls, “and I practiced there for thirty years, and delivered about a thousand babies, did general practice, and helped established the first hospital there as well. I was also instrumental in developing Rutgers South Jersey College of Medicine branch in Strafford, New Jersey.” Kirsh has four children, seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
In 1976, Kirsh moved to North Palm Beach, Florida, where he established another medial practice and later became chief of staff at a nearby hospital; two years later, he helped organize another hospital, Wellington Regional Medical Center, and became chairman of its board.
Witnessing the funeral of Presidents Reagan, Kennedy, and Ford, said Kirsh, “I decided how fortunate I was that my wife and I, both born of the first generation from immigrant parents, (were) born that way, as American citizens.” Kirsh decided “to visit a few of the museums to say thanks to each of the presidents for what they did.”
Kirsh and his wife drove from their home in Florida and toured the country visiting sites related the presidents; “I drove 14,000 miles,” he recalled, “I visited 110 museums, met presidents and advisors to presidents, archivists in some of the museums, and got a whole insight into the presidency and American history. I kept notes, bought all kinds of books…I saw American history geographically, but I really wanted to know it chronologically, I wanted a timeline.” In his writing, said Kirsh, “I said, I have the makings of a book that can be called, ‘Thank you, America.’ That is how it came about.”