Lake Victoria, Laingsburg, MI : DMH and Associates , 2004 .
Societies and nations from the beginning of time have always been beset by conflicts and terrorist threats of some magnitude. America has suffered several, especially during wartime. In 1776, Thomas Paine electrified the American colonies into action with his short pamphlet “Common Sense,” which counseled “These are the times that try men's souls.” The terrorist attack on America on September 11, 2001, Herder sees as just another threat which will try the souls of all Americans and sensible people worldwide. America is not facing societies gone insane and murderous, but small groups of blind individuals and culture that, without thinking of any consequences set out to burn, kill, and destroy. The times that try our souls—those of America especially as the leader, but also of sane people everywhere—are to understand, resist, and destroy the madness that is out to eliminate America as a nation and as a symbol of higher goals and accomplishments of mankind and like-minded people worldwide. Modernizing Paine's “Common Sense,” Herder states clearly, emphatically, and sensibly, America's “challenge is … to earn and retain the trust of other nations by what we say and what we do. We must stand by our moral convictions, and when we err we must admit our mistakes, pull back, and try to set things right” (94). Herder's message is loud and clear. It is about common sense re-established and lived. The book and the message should be a part of every American's reading at breakfast.