The Liberty Bell: a sliver of American history

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It's accepted as a truism that the majority of Philadelphians take the wealth of historical artifacts that surround them -- the most significant dating from the period of this country's struggle for independence -- pretty much for granted. I say this with some certainty since I count myself as typical of those who've spent most of their lives in and around Philly. For example, I always stop for a second to admire Independence Hall's trim classical lines (when I'm in the area, that is), and enjoy it especially in the fall when the setting sun makes the park-like area in the back of that grand structure glow with a golden light. But I can't tell you when the last time was that I went inside and had a look at what's on display there -- to say nothing of a mass of other famous locales nearby.

I was reminded of how cavalier an attitude I've adopted toward what we all dwell with on a daily basis after reading -- in anticipation of July 4 -- a new book titled The Liberty Bell. The author is Gary N. Nash and his skillful little volume is yet another in an obviously ongoing series of titles published by Yale University Press that attempts to re-examine some of America's most cherished icons. Nash, a professor of history and director of the National Center for History at UCLA, is the author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Urban Crucible: Social Change, Political Consciousness, and the Origins of the American Revolution.

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