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Small cover of “Dear Son: Do you really want to be an American?” by Stephen G. EsratiFrom the author (my Dad):

It was 1970 and I was working at The (Toronto) Globe and Mail, a paper that had the nerve to claim it was one of the 10 best newspapers in the world. But I got my news from the CBS station in Buffalo and The New York Times. Our son, David was 8 and I was 43. The thought hit me that in just 10 years David would be faced with a momentous choice, to be a Canadian or to go to the American Consulate to assert his U.S. citizenship.

The Vietnam war was on and Tricky Dickie was in the White House. The United States had just illegally invaded Cambodia. Ohio National Guardsmen had just killed four students at Kent State. Was that the country I could recommend to David?

I sat down at my typewriter and did what writers do. I wrote a book — for David. I told him about his hometown in Celina, Ohio, about the Hough and Glenville riots in Cleveland, and about my run-in with the machinery of “loyalty,” which denied me an army commission and got me thrown out of R.O.T.C.
I also told him about the American dream, of a country living up to its Fourth of July speech,
It is not a dull read.

From me:

Not every kid gets a civics lesson for his seventeenth birthday, written by his father, to help him make one of the most important decisions of his life, but I did.

It was an incredible gift then, and it’s even better now, post 9/11, post “Patriot Act” and when Americans are faced with a new reality— one where America isn’t the most loved country in the world as it once was.

Written around 1969 in Toronto Canada, where we were living, my father thought it might be a good idea to provide me a handbook on the country we left while I was too young to understand what democracy was, or why there were National Guard troops standing outside our apartment’s entrance. It was to be read in 1980, when he thought I’d have to declare my citizenship as Canadian and renounce my native land—or go home.

That decision was made for me- we moved back in 1971, but the book was still given to me when I was old enough to understand the principles of the United States and where we get it right— and wrong.

Today, this look at what our country is, and what it was meant to be, is even more relevant. For people who want to know why David Esrati is the way he is, this may be the best place to start.

My father and I are giving away this gift, sharing it with the world, in the hope that a better-informed public may help restore the ideals and dreams of the founding fathers.

If you like this book, please consider making a donation to my campaign for congress. You can also send this link to others and encourage them to read it— and discuss it here.

The book can be downloaded (In Adobe’s Acrobat/PDF format) for free at the link below. If you like it, please consider donating to my campaign.

DOWNLOAD FREE BOOK: DEAR SON

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Pam December 27, 2007 at 1:22 pm

This is an excerpt from an email I sent to David last week after I got to preview his dad’s book:

It’s a treasure, David. What an amazing legacy and gift from the heart.

I bet there’s not another politician anywhere who has something so concrete that he can point to and say, “These are the values I was raised with. These are the ideas that shaped me. This is where my passion comes from.”

It’s proof-positive that you’re the real deal and not just a poser, a self-promoter or a glad-hander from hell. The commitment to social justice and progress and sane government was literally bred into you. It’s in your blood and bones. You’re definitely your own man, but you and your dad are cut from the same cloth, and each of you are American heroes. I’m proud to know you both.

I would encourage anyone who THINKS he knows David to read this book and think again.

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Bob VL January 5, 2008 at 5:24 pm

I have known David for over twenty years, when he was a student of Advertising at Wright State University. I was the Associate Professor for that class, and teaching that quarter. David had me wondering even then – WHO IS that arrogant guy?

He was after all, an adult, and a working man by day – a student at night school. He always had an answer and an opinion to share with our class!

I can’t wait to read this book, and find out what I did not know then, and wish that I knew now. It is going to be a great experience I know.

Thanks Mr. Esrati, to both of you !

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gay January 6, 2008 at 1:43 pm

Over the course of our lives, as we travel our chosen paths we meet others who inspire us to be greater human beings. To be responsible citizens. To get out of the fog and believe in something better…a world where freedom of speech is a true right, or where education is not just a gift but a responsibility to our next generations and also to ourselves. Ten years ago I met David. It was obvious then and still is today David was a person of conviction and honor. He did not just talk a “good game” but he lived his convictions in taking action on what he believed to be important. David has given his life to many important things such as restoring a community, educating our youth, supporting the entreprenurial spirit that makes this country great, and so much more. Is David opinionated? Yes, you may even say that is an understatement. But, he is not opinionated because he needs to be right… his opinion is based on knowledge, and the courage to speak the truth. So many of us keep blinders on to those things which enact a level of discomfort in us… because it is too hard to face the truth, because if we face the truth we might have to “do something.” David does not hide… and because of this has taken alot of unfair blows. One thing I know for sure, David will represent those individuals who want to see a change, who still believe in the dream of those before us who also were willing to make a difference in a land we now call America.

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Stine January 19, 2008 at 3:52 am

One nitpick to make about the book: there is no such thing as “the Creative Commons License”. There are many different Creative Commons licenses, each with different permissions, restrictions, etc. You should make clear the exact license it is under.

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David Esrati January 19, 2008 at 8:20 am

Stine is absolutely correct. Here is the exact version:

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.
I will update the PDF asap.

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Derek Burress January 31, 2008 at 10:02 pm

One of the best short books I have read in the field of American history. Great book for students of all ages to begin looking at the events that shaped American History from the just before the segregation era to the events leading to 9/11. Complete with primary sources and in depth mass media complimentary.

Also an excellent source for American geography and political science students to examine the thoughts of citizens who immigrated to America and how American policies shaped their lives.
——
And like any other good article, there is an hidden easter egg in there as well. Find the typo around pages 12-14!

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J.R. Locke February 14, 2008 at 4:06 am

Very good book, Senior Esrati. In the midst of reading this on the computer screen, I was reading Lee Ioacoca’s “Where Have All The Leaders Gone.” Similar messages but “Dear Son” was written much better. Really an inspiring read and although my checkbook empty I certainly give my support to the cause.

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Thompson Gunn January 18, 2009 at 6:35 pm

This book was a tough read – a constantly painful reminder that the more things change the more they stay the same. The “good ole days” were never that great, and repeatedly it appears politicians, military, lawyers and citizens alike will never learn any lessons from the past. Even with a newly elected black president (and a Democrat no less – considering what being a Democrat once meant according to Mr. Esrati’s recollections), there is no sign that anything will change for the better.

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Ralph June 10, 2014 at 1:45 pm

I would have to take the indifferent Van Wert attitude about the present WhiteHouse should such a tragedy befall as it did during the Kennedy administration. This has nothing to do with race as I strongly agree with dear old dad about the disgust of racism. This is about our president’s total disregard for our Constitution that he swore to uphold and defend. Obama’s has executed many illegal executive orders and has side stepped Congress at every turn. This president has created more polarization and disharmony in Congress than any president heretofore with such Executive Orders such as:

1. Directing the Justice Department to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act;

2. Giving states waivers from federal mandates if they agreed to education overhauls;

3. Changed significant provisions of and the timing of Obamacare;

4. Declared an anti-gay-rights law unconstitutional;

5. Reshaped immigration policy by ordering the federal government to halt deportation of certain illegal immigrants.

Whether one is inline with these issues or contrary the act of these Executive Orders are illegal. What’s next for this self-appointed King, gun control? Oh, he’s already started that with executive actions such as; Publishing a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers and to clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes. Then there’s requiring that anyone associated with a trust or corporation that is registering a firearm purchase go through a background check. That means a background check for the right to own your deceased daddy’s shotgun (if he ever owned one).

David, I have no doubt your father was a very good man with the same principals that you and I endorse (for the most part). It is most wonderful that he possessed fine writing skills to impart to you his experiences and beliefs. I’ve not been bestowed that benefit but I do know my purple heart disabled veteran father’s belief system and I know he would be disgusted with the hatred and bigotry that continues to exist and he would certainly be disgusted to his very soul with this administrations disregard for our constitution for political purpose. Maybe Van Wert isn’t all bad?

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David Esrati June 10, 2014 at 9:41 pm

@Ralph- my father still is a very good man. He lives across the street from me with my mother. I see them at least 3 times a day.
While I don’t agree with your assessment of President Obama- thank you for reading.

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