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The 5000 Year Leap

4.27 of 5 stars 4.27  ·  rating details  ·  4,725 ratings  ·  810 reviews
For many years in the United States there has been a gradual drifting away from the Founding Fathers' original success formula. This has resulted in some of their most unique contributions for a free and prosperous society becoming lost or misunderstood. Therefore, there has been a need to review the history and development of the making of America in order to recapture th ...more
Kindle Edition, 337 pages
Published (first published June 1st 1981)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Scott Zuke
Nov 22, 2009 Scott Zuke rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who is willing to give it a fair, but not uncritical reading.
For such a small and plainly written book, readers will take away very different messages from The 5,000 Year Leap depending on their already-held beliefs. The author, Cleon Skousen, was an extremely conservative Mormon and a highly vocal critic of communism, as well as a cyclically successful author.

My best guess for why this particular book has found success above all of his other books is that he hides his views in the background, creating the illusion of an objective historical textbook. On
...more
Jodi Z
Sep 09, 2008 Jodi Z rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Americans
Should be required reading for every American. A great place to start your study of the ideas of our nation's founders.

This was an eye-opening introduction to what went into creating our government system. I am all the more convinced that those who think the founders' ideas are quaint and outdated have not done nearly the research that the founders' themselves did. It has been said that we should not try to do what great men did but instead strive to see what they saw. The 5000 Year Leap does a
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Gina
To be honest, I read this to confirm to myself that is was as bad as I thought it would be, and I just like to see what Glenn Beck folks are reading these days. The book is basically strung together quotes from founding fathers and HEAVILY from de Tocqueville supporting some principles that Skousen claims are the foundation of our nation. The conclusions are unwarranted and sweeping (I chuckled over one section heading "European philosophers were wrong"). I think books like this are a little dan ...more
Steve
I picked up this book because I've seen it on the Amazon bestseller list for months, and was just wondering what Glenn Beck and the Tea Party like about it. It was written in 1981 by Cleon Skousen and at first glance seems rather commonsensical. The premise is that America has been a very successful and prosperous country for its first 200 years; so much so that it has achieved as much in those 200 years as humankind had achieved in the previous 5000 years. A 5000 year leap! A bit hyperbolic, pe ...more
Temple
worst book ever. seriously. academically and logically flawed from cover to cover, miserably written, and extra creepy when you realize it's just mormonism for the masses. sorry, mormons...don't get me wrong: I loathe and resent all religions...but joseph smith was flippin whacked. And so is this book.
Dan
This is another hard book to rate. It's well written and really easy to read, which is saying a lot for a book on government. Quite honestly, when Skousen was talking about the absurdity of our partisan concept of the left-right divide and the problem solving vs. the conservation wing of government, this was going high three, maybe even low four for me. The difficulty arose when he actually started teaching history. He clearly had done his homework and knew a lot of things that I knew nothing ab ...more
Shannon
Jan 30, 2008 Shannon rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves freedom
This book is soooo good! It's awesome because it gives you insights on many of the founding fathers opinions while at the same time answering so many questions that arise today. Such as, is the Constitution outdated? In the back of my mind I knew it wasn't, but I couldn't have explained why until I read this book. The Constitution deals with principles, wich are timeless. It also deals with human nature, and though our way of living may have changed, our nature never will.

Another question is, S
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Autumn
I believe this book is fundamental. We should all be involved in the community and in our country. This book lays out basic true principals believed in by the founding fathers on which we should base our decisions in government.
Rand
A must read - especially politicians! They need a refresher course on what made the USA great.
Lindy
Wow! I want to sent this book to every elected official - and every citizen for that matter- in the country. (And I'm only on page 20!) This book discusses what it takes for a people to stay free. We have strayed so far from where the Founding Fathers started. I can't wait to wade deeper in.

I returned to library about 1/2 read. It has a lot of great information, but there is a lot to assimilate. I need to buy it so I can take my time to digest each of the principles of freedom and make them a pa
...more
Nickie
Oct 29, 2009 Nickie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Americans
Just read this book again. October 2009. This time I presented principles 11-28 over 6 hours with a youth group. Great learning experience for me.
---------------

This is a book all Americans need to read. And I hope would appreciate.

For me, this is the planting of a seed and the swelling of that seed which will grow, with proper nourishment into a patriotic tree with fruit of freedom and liberty.

These 28 points ring true to me. Can you tell? I hope they ring true to you as well.
Robbie
The 5000 Year Leap is a profound piece of work on the 28 principles on which this nation was founded. Skousen uses the direct words of the founders and others of that time to lay out how the founders structured the constitution and this country. He does not use quotes to back up his ideas but lets these quotes from the great men of our nation's beginning state their own ideas and backs them up with brief explanations of his own.

I was astounded by the prophetic nature of their words. Much of wha
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Michele
I'm sick I didn't sell this for my book group. It would have been an amazing discussion. I felt like this was a very important book. Glenn Beck said every American should read this book and I completely agree. Being a novice with all things governmental, I felt like I got a great overview to the constitution and its overall importance. The principles discussed are losing ground and it is scary! I think I like John Adams more and more as I learn about his vision for our country. He really knew wh ...more
Melanie
Jul 21, 2010 Melanie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Have you ever wondered the true definition of "Separation of Church and State"? What about wondering what the Founding Fathers thought about the role of the Creator and what Man's Unalienable Rights are? This book does a wonderful job in explaining the remarkable origins and ideas that helped forge this great nation.

Last Christmas, I was doing some last minute shopping and saw this book in an art gallery. It looked very interesting to me so I picked it up to give to my husband as a present. (I
...more
Brian Hodges
Okay, I gave it a fair shot. I got through a little over 100 pages of it and had to restrain myself from shouting out loud almost the entire time. I picked up this book for two reasons. First, back when I was a Glenn Beck fan, he used to rave about the principles espoused in this book and how we need to get back to them to make America great again. Also, after reading "A People's History of the United States" I figured I should give a fair shot to a book with a less cynical and more forgiving vi ...more
Tamra
Jan 05, 2010 Tamra rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Glenn Beck supporters, John Birch Society members, other far-rightists
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
A male friend of mine did a book group at a local library on this book, which intrigued me because 1- he's male and that's usually female territory, and 2- this friend doesn't read a lot.

I liked the opening part of the book, before he got to the 28 Great Ideas. More of the history. Which was cool. "The 28 Great Ideas behind the Constitution," though, are sort of just his cover for teaching about God and how we need to make sure He's the center of our politics. I'm religious, but I personally thi
...more
Margie
Aug 16, 2009 Margie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who love liberty and realize that freedom isn't "free."
Recommended to Margie by: finalfrontier100@yahoo.com
I'm half way through this and wish that we had used this as a text in my Junior history class in high school. Everyone should read this and become reacquainted with the principles of the Republic and why we were so forutnate that our Founders established the government this way. Benjamin Franklin, when asked what type of Government they had set up responded, "We have given you a Republic madam - if you can keep it." I hope many more people will educate themselves on the genius of the Republic an ...more
Bigmg
Absolutely essential reading.

With all the rewriting of history that has been going on since the Social Gospel of the late 1800's became the Progressive movement, a clear outline of the principles that the founders used in the formation of our government has been needed. This book shines a light on the path that we are on now and how lost we have become. All the sophomoric doublespeak that has become the language of the MSM and political hacks is now exposed for what it is: a lie.

Principles, su
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Dick
This is a book that is not Republican or Democrat. Rather is it about how our Found Fathers incorporated what they did into our formation as a country and into our constitution. It goes back to Cicero and others of that philosopical genre. Those who founded this nation were not kings or men of great wealth for the most part. They had worked hard to achieve whatever they had and rejected the entitlement mentality of royalty totally. These men believed in God and in HIS gift to us of not only HIS ...more
Patrick
(September final word) This book is supremely frustrating. I enjoyed reading some of the later principles and agreed with much of the overall idea, but Skousen continually packages political revisionist history as objective truth and cannot be trusted. His overall thesis that these principles were universally agreed upon by all of the Founding Fathers is false. He gives no context to his sources or quotes, and treats modern commentators and past memoir writers like de Toqueville as credible phil ...more
Suzanne
Mar 12, 2010 Suzanne rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
If you believe in the principles of freedom that America stands for than you will appreciate this book. I know that because of human nature there is no perfect society and that men are fallible. That is exactly what the founders believed also. So they did their best to set up a system of laws and government to try to put in check the evil designs of men and the weakness’s of human nature. We have faltered much along the way, not because of the weakness of the constitution but because of the weak ...more
Ebookwormy
This book was painful to read during the debt ceiling fiasco and USA credit downgrade of the summer of 2011, particularly when a later chapter's title is: "The burden of debt is as destructive to freedom as subjugation by conquest" (27th Principle). It was kind of like taking a medicine that tastes bad, and the best way for me to get through it was to read one chapter a day.

Don't be discouraged by the emotional hype of the Glenn Beck prologue, which is Beck's usual, "I learned I know everything,
...more
Nicole
The Center for Constitutional Studies has really been pushing for every American to read this book. It's been kind of a controversial book--some people really pushing for it to be included in public school curriculum, others pushing hard to have it banned. Anyway, it explores the fundamental principles that our nation was founded on, and how those principles let to more advancement in 150 years than had been accomplished in the 5000 years previously. I thought it was wonderful--so clear and conc ...more
Leila
I was amazed at the insight of the founding fathers into the future ~ having no belief in crystal balls I'm convienced of divine guidance in the creation of this country's founding documents. Recommended for all whom are concerned about it's direction.
Matt
When I first flipped through this book and read the title of each of the 28 principles, I essentially agreed with each principle as stated and as I read, I did find some insights interesting. But, I found serious fault with the book's central premise, that the 'Founding Fathers' (the author uses the term as a single entity) had very specific ideas concerning government and all those ideas apply in today's world.

The Founding Fathers were diverse group of individuals that had very different opini
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Frank
The 5,000 Year Leap
By W. Cleon Skousen


This remarkable book covers much forgotten or neglected history of our nation's founding, including the Godly and moral principles on which America began.


Some of these principles trace back to the ancient Anglo Saxons, who considered themselves a commonwealth of free men and had a tradition of being highly involved in local government. Our Founders realized the similarities between Anglo Saxon laws and those governing Israel during Biblical times.


They also
...more
Nicole
It sounds like a long book, doesn't it? It's actually a fast, easy read.

You have to remember that it was published by the National Center for Constitutional Studies. That said, it's an informative book that provides a conservative perspective on the intent and ideology of the Founders of the United States of America.

Some things the book addresses that I found thought-provoking:
-What the Founders intended to be the relationship between church and state
-The use of the word "democracy" as it relate
...more
Steve
Personally, I think the best part of the book has to do with Skousen's take on the "Founder's political spectrum". The real spectrum is NOT from "left" to "right", it is from "anarchy" to "tyranny".

We either have not enough government to effectively secure our rights, or we have so much government that our rights are being trampled. Our republic was meant to maintain a balance between the two.

"left" and "right" are arbitrary and shape-shifting terms that serve to distract people from more criti
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Dawn Lennon
After I was about half way through, I came to the Goodreads reviews to see if I could sort out my discomfort with it. The review by @Scott Zuke helped me untangle both my ambivalence and my annoyance. I won't recount Scott's points but add to them. It's generallysuspect when an author's message is based on the extraction and sequencing of quotes by learned people. When ideas are lifted and reset, the reader doesn't have the benefit of their context or any changing of perspectives over time, as i ...more
Elizabeth Kamarade
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Mormonism & L...: Skousen? 2 14 Jan 16, 2013 02:23AM  
Discussion questions 2 94 Jun 14, 2011 02:36PM  
Standard School teaching??? 5 190 Jul 07, 2010 10:09AM  
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W. Cleon Skousen (1913-2006) was a popular teacher, lecturer and author in the United States for over 40 years. Born in Raymond, Alberta, Canada on January 20, 1913, Dr. Skousen’s growing up years were spent in Canada, Mexico, and California.

At age 17 he was called to serve a two-year, LDS mission to Great Britain for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He later attended college at th
...more
More about W. Cleon Skousen...
The Making of America: The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution The Cleansing of America The First 2,000 Years:  From Adam To Abraham The Third Thousand Years The Naked Communist

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“Here is my creed: I believe in one God, the Creator of the universe. That he governs it by his providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is in doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion. --Benjamin Franklin” 12 likes
“Strictly enforce the scale of "fixed responsibility." The first and foremost level of responsibility is with the individual himself; the second level is the family; then the church; next the community, finally the county, and, in a disaster or emergency, the state. Under no circumstances is the federal government to become involved in public welfare. The Founders felt it would corrupt the government and also the poor. No Constitutional authority exists for the federal government to participate in charity or welfare.” 8 likes
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