Editor’s Note: Given the times at hand, this is a very important book for you to read. It’s enjoyable, entertaining and insightful. Ever wonder what Washington, Jefferson and Franklin would say if they were alive today? Read this book…
Have you ever wondered what our founding fathers would think of the United States of America as they exist today? Well, it’s obvious that Mr. Rowe had some of those thoughts as he wrote “Tempus Fugit”. Translated that means “Time Flies” and it’s a book about three of our founding fathers who find themselves transported through time to Mount Rushmore in the year 2001. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin are depicted in a historically accurate fashion – which will surprise many readers – as they attempt to understand the future of what they began.
Certainly George Washington was a great leader (obviously, right?) as demonstrated by his military leadership and performance as our first president. But what about him as just a person? How was he to sit and have a cold beer with? Was he a man you’d enjoy spending a day off with out hiking? Was he understanding of the weaknesses of his fellow man? or was he somewhat of a task master? You rarely (if ever) read about how tall he actually was or his physical prowess. In Tempus Fugit you get to see such intricacies of who George Washington really was as he faces the challenges of 21st century life at the base of a monument erected (partially) for him. Perhaps one of the most entertaining topics is how he (and his companions) react to how much in our country is named in honor of him.
And then we have Thomas Jefferson, also a former President and one of the architects of our governmental system. Jefferson is probably the most criticized for his outlook on slavery and his defense of it. Did he really feel that slavery was right? How many people would believe that Jefferson actually wanted to end slavery? that what he was against was giving freed slaves their own portion of the new United States to settle? Of the three main characters in the book, I ended up liking Thomas Jefferson the least. He came across – as presented by the author however unintentionally – as weak, fearful and hypocritical to the extreme.
And Ben Franklin… the “First American”. The one who WASN’T ever President, although I think he’d have made a fine one. In the book Ben is the most frail but obviously the smartest. His quick wit keeps even George Washington’s criticisms under control – or turned into humor. The insights offered into Ben Franklin are really quite enjoyable. How much time he spent overseas and what he was doing… how much of his energy was devoted to chasing women… how he viewed scientific or “natural philosophy”… These are insights that make him more of a man and less of a legend. Oddly enough, though, if he were alive today and performing as he did back then, he’d still be a legend.
One thing that become painfully obvious upon completion of the book is that today’s politicians can’t hold a candle to our founding fathers. Compared to George Washington MOST of our elected representatives today are cowards in the extreme. I said MOST because a few really are heroes who have demonstrated their bravery. Compared to Thomas Jefferson most of today’s politicians fail miserably at diplomacy and tact. Compared to Ben Franklin and his dedication to liberty, most of us in general fail to compare.
The end of the book makes it clear that Mr. Rowe has another in the works. I look forward to reading it because Tempus Fugit was truly entertaining and enlightening!
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