By Brad Meltzer
GLENN: My son said to me one time about, oh, I don't know, eight months ago, we were reading a Bible story and I said, that's a hero, huh? And he said, well, no, he can't fly. And I called a friend of mine, Brad Meltzer who is a guy who actually writes, you know, the Superman comics and is also a thriller author and everything else. Brad, how are you, sir?
MELTZER: I'm good, sir, how are you doing?
GLENN: Very good. You said you felt the same thing. You wanted real heroes for your son and you were — when I called you a few months ago, you were in the middle of writing this book that is out now, Heroes For My Son.
MELTZER: Yeah. On the night my son was born eight years ago, I said I'm going to write a book that lasts his whole life and I'll give it to him one day and we'll share it and it will be terrific. And I actually started the book with just lessons. I wrote down, I opened my book that I keep my ideas in and I wrote the lessons he was going to live by and number one said love God and number two said be nice to the fat kid in class, and I was going to teach him these lessons. And then a friend of mine told me this story about the Wright Brothers, two heroes of mine. And every time that the Wright brothers used to go out to fly their plane, they would bring enough extra materials for multiple crashes and that means every time they went out, they knew they were going to fail and they would crash and rebuild and crash and rebuild and that's why they took off. And Glenn, I love that story. I wanted my son to hear that story and let him know that if he had a dream and he followed up on it and worked hard, he could do anything in this world. And so I said I'm going to give him that, real heroes, and that's going to give him proof, absolute proof, not just sayings, which are nice, but absolute proof that anything in this world is possible. And so I've spent nearly a decade now collecting these real life heroes.
GLENN: And it's not stuff like — I hate the way we have painted George Washington. "I cannot tell a lie" on the cherry tree. That's a bogus story.
MELTZER: That's myth.
GLENN: Why would we make up a lie about a guy who's telling the truth? That's incredible.
MELTZER: That's what I wanted my son — and that's why I was really fearful. I said here I have my boy and what we do with these heroes, whether it's the founders or whether it's Martin Luther King, Jr., we turn them into myths. You know, we're a country founded on legends and myths but that doesn't mean that we have to forget our real history. And the real history is the best part. So I put in the book, I didn't want to write about just great people. I wanted to find a single moment that made them great and to me George Washington, it's when he's at the height of his popularity and he can easily declare himself king of America, right? Everyone could have followed. He could have had power for the rest of his life after the revolution. And King George says to the painter Benjamin West, he says, what's George Washington's plan now? And West says, well, they say he will return to his farm. And King George said, if he does that, he's going to be the greatest man in the world. And that's what Washington does. And he does it again when he leaves the presidency a couple — after a second term. And to me that's his greatest, most fine moment, which is when he puts his faith, as it says in the book, not just in his country but in us. He trusts us to lead ourselves. And, you know, you say to somebody — you tell me the guy's the first president. That's good, he got elected and that's great. But you show me what he gave up and I will show you the man.
GLENN: Real quick give me Abraham Lincoln.
MELTZER: Abraham Lincoln, absolutely. You know there's a thing today called political suicide. And political suicide is when you do something that you know is going to get you killed that no one else agrees with. And Abraham Lincoln in 1858 when he runs for the Senate against Steven Douglas, Steven Douglas represented what most people think. And Douglas said the blacks had no rights, he said they weren't entitled to, you know, life, liberty, but suit of happiness. And Abraham Lincoln disagrees and he stands up and he speaks his mind. And you know what happens? Abraham Lincoln loses and he goes home with nothing. It was absolutely political suicide and let me tell you something, it was worth it. And I want my son to hear that story.
GLENN: Do you think he knew that he was going to die?
MELTZER: That's a good question. There is — you know, I actually got contacted after one of my novels by one of John Wilkes Booth's relatives and who, you know, basically got in touch with me and I got in touch with some of the other family members who kind of sought me out because they said they had a story for me and, you know, it's a wild —
GLENN: You know, I have to tell you, Brad, in today's world that's not, that's not something that you want to be on the Glenn Beck program. Now the story will be, on the Glenn Beck program, Glenn Beck spoke to author Brad Meltzer who had shadowy contacts with —
MELTZER: I know, sorry.
GLENN: — presidential assassin family. See what's happening here?
MELTZER: You don't say that?
GLENN: You are going to be in jail, man, for going after Lincoln. I always knew it would be Brad Meltzer in the end.
MELTZER: Listen, we write the history books, we rewrite them all the time.
GLENN: That's right. The name of the book is Heroes For My Son. Brad Meltzer. It's available everywhere. And I know this sounds simple, but this is part of the key, teaching our children about real heroes. Not legends, not myths. Real heroes. Heroes For My Son, Brad Meltzer. Thanks, Brad, talk to you again.
MELTZER: Thanks, Glenn.