Presidents’ Day makes Dr. Timothy Holder, professor of history at Walters State Community College, very happy. The federal holiday gives him another chance to talk about one of his favorite subjects: American presidents.
“I am especially interested in the earliest presidents because they were such extraordinary people. None of them were perfect, but all were amazing,” said Holder.
“We really haven’t had that many presidents over the course of our history. Even among that select group, the backgrounds are varied. Some have been rich and others, including Greeneville’s Andrew Johnson, started out extremely poor. Some have been charismatic, while others have been socially awkward.
“Collectively, their stories reflect some of the virtues of life in America: the belief that everyone is created equal and the idea that, if we apply enough grit, each of us can be successful in significant endeavors,” Holder said.
He’s written five books about presidents and loves to weave stories about our commanders in chief into his history stories. His latest book, “Devotions with Presidents,” contains 150 devotionals, each containing a story about a president.
Holder’s friend friend, Jeff Bohanan, suggested the idea of the book to Holder.
“When you’re an author, people often make suggestions about projects. Writing takes a lot of passion. It’s a huge work spread out over a long period of time, so I am not usually inspired enough to do a book based on someone else’s interests. I was actually working on another project and needed a break,” said Holder
“I started working on the book just to stay busy with writing, but the subject matter turned out to be very interesting and it became this book.”
While the book is a scripture-based devotional, the presidents add a lot to the mix.
“You’ll read messages about grace, grit, forgiveness and many important principles,” Holder said.
Holder holds master’s and doctorate degrees in history from the University of Kentucky. He also holds a master of applied theology from Carson-Newman University. In addition being a professor, he serves as assistant dean of social and behavioral sciences at the college.
His previous books include “Presidential Stories,” “Presidential Trivia,” and “Presidential Character.”
Since Presidents’ Day is a federal holiday, is not a holiday for students and faculty. All Walters State campuses will be open regular hours on Monday.