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The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle That Changed the World

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  6,409 ratings  ·  914 reviews
This is the best-selling Original Authorized Edition regularly featured by Glenn Beck to Fox TV viewers as a Must Read! The nation the Founders built is now in the throes of a political, economic, social, and spiritual crisis that has driven many to an almost frantic search for modern solutions. The truth is that the solutions have been available for a long time -- in the ...more
Paperback, 337 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by National Center for Constitutional Studies (first published June 1st 1981)
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Steve Hi Lori, I'm a Christian and just finished reading it. He leaves his Mormonism stuff out best I can tell. However, I think he (and other Mormon…moreHi Lori, I'm a Christian and just finished reading it. He leaves his Mormonism stuff out best I can tell. However, I think he (and other Mormon authors of these kind of books) is/are tacitly trying to convert people though by way of attracting people to Mormonism through conservative ideals and family values. I left a more thorough review below. I don't recommend reading any history books (The Real Thomas Jefferson, The Real George Washington, The Real Benjamin Franklin) by Mormon authors after reading this. There would have to be better options. These books are promoted in the back of The 5000 Year Leap. A quick Google search on the recommended list on Beck's website revealed (at least it did at one time, it's been a long time since I did that) that most, if not all, of them were written by Mormons, novels included. (less)

Community Reviews

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4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,409 ratings  ·  914 reviews

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Scott Zuke
Nov 21, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Jodi Z
Jun 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
May 14, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
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
Jul 21, 2009 rated it did not like it
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.
Jan 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
May 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
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.
May 17, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read - especially politicians! They need a refresher course on what made the USA great.
Jul 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
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
Jun 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics, historical
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
Jan 05, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those who love liberty and realize that freedom isn't "free."
Recommended to Margie by:
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
Nov 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Brian Hodges
Sep 15, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Brent McGregor
Mar 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A must read for every American. The book describes 28 of our founding principles and how they helped our forbears create the most prosperous and free civilization in the history of the world. The book perfectly illustrates the efficacy of the American philosophy by illustrating how little science, technology, and industry had changed in the 5,000 years prior to America's discovery, and how virtually every facet of human ingenuity and creativity exploded exponentially once the founding principals ...more
Oct 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle That Changed The World, was written by W. Cleon Skousen in 1981.
The 28 Great Ideas that changed the World, all 28 of these ideas are well received by this reader, I should say the near end of the book, the 27th principle (Avoiding the Burden of Debt) was completely depressing, however it was illuminating and caused me deep contemplation. Allow me the Liberty to declare that this is a book every American should read, with haste! This should be required reading for al
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,
(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
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
According to this thoughtful book, we have lost our way in this country, and I agree. This insightful and fully comprehensible outline of the meaning of the Constitution shows how the thinking of the Founding Fathers is still applicable today. Senator Orrin Hatch states that it should be studied in high schools and universities and by Congress and the Supreme Court. I would go further and say that it should be read by EVERYONE! Between the Constitution and the Ten Commandments, we have everythin ...more
Jul 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Aug 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 21, 2010 rated it liked it
Before you can be guided by this book, you must already believe it's core tenets: Basic Law + Laissez-faire attitudes + Judeo-Christian Believers = Freedom.

The 5000 Year Leap is a type of "Founding Father's Quotes for Dummies;" a simplified political science book. While I agreed with nearly every principle contained herein, there were statements Mr. Skousen made here and there delivered as pure fact, without basis or reference, which he assumed would just be accepted as truth by the reader. Ever
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
The 5K leap backwards 2 9 Feb 24, 2016 03:01AM  
Mormonism & Liberty: Skousen? 2 17 Jan 16, 2013 02:23AM  
Discussion questions 2 103 Jun 14, 2011 02:36PM  
Standard School teaching??? 4 192 Mar 29, 2010 12:05PM  
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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
“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” 17 likes
“I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there; in her fiertile fields and boundless prairies, and it was not there; in her rich mines and her vast world commerce, and it was not there. Not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." --Alexis de Tocqueville” 10 likes
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