An often intriguing book on religion and American politics, regardless of one’s ideological bent.

The Miracle of America

THE INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE ON THE FOUNDING HISTORY AND PRINCIPLES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FOR A PEOPLE OF EVERY BELIEF

An in-depth study of the influence of the Bible on the values underpinning American government.

Kamrath makes an impressive debut with a work that blends Judeo-Christian theology, political science and colonial American history. The majority of early American settlers were religious dissidents who established colonies, in part, to have the freedom to worship as they chose. At the same time they made their fateful migrations, the Protestant Reformation was shaking up the foundations of the established church. This ideologically fertile time serves as Kamrath’s starting point for an intriguing portrait of an often overlooked feature of early American history. She aims to illustrate how Biblical teachings influenced the social structures of the early colonies and ultimately informed the Founding Fathers and their philosophy of governance. She particularly describes how core American principles, such as freedom of conscience and restricted government, have a powerful Biblical foundation. Skeptical readers may suspect that the author is arguing for a more theocratic society or to make a case for America as a nation chosen by God, but she goes to careful lengths to avoid such polemics. In the process, she makes a powerful case that the Bible mandates rather than restricts the pluralist society in American politics. Kamrath collects a prodigious number of Biblical references, historical quotations and scholarly reflections to illustrate the depth of religion’s influence on American ideology, but she’s also careful to acknowledge the work of such influential Enlightenment philosophers as John Locke. In its quest to be comprehensive, the book sometimes sacrifices readability, but this is essentially an academic text which dives deep into complicated subjects. Rather than focusing on individual figures or convenient narratives, the author devotes her attention to the abstract ideas that ultimately coalesced into American democracy. Despite its narrow subject matter, however, the book nonetheless has contemporary relevance, and any reader interested in the link between overlapping moral philosophies may find Kamrath’s arguments enriching.

An often intriguing book on religion and American politics, regardless of one’s ideological bent.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-1628711417

Page Count: 382

Publisher: Xulon Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2013

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A scattershot exercise in preaching to the choir.

THE WAR ON THE WEST

A British journalist fulminates against Black Lives Matter, critical race theory, and other threats to White privilege.

“There is an assault going on against everything to do with the Western world—its past, present, and future.” So writes Spectator associate editor Murray, whose previous books have sounded warnings against the presumed dangers of Islam and of non-Western immigration to the West. As the author argues, Westerners are supposed to take in refugees from Africa, Asia, and Latin America while being “expected to abolish themselves.” Murray soon arrives at a crux: “Historically the citizens of Europe and their offspring societies in the Americas and Australasia have been white,” he writes, while the present is bringing all sorts of people who aren’t White into the social contract. The author also takes on the well-worn subject of campus “wokeness,” a topic of considerable discussion by professors who question whether things have gone a bit too far; indeed, the campus is the locus for much of the anti-Western sentiment that Murray condemns. The author’s arguments against reparations for past damages inflicted by institutionalized slavery are particularly glib. “It comes down to people who look like the people to whom a wrong was done in history receiving money from people who look like the people who may have done the wrong,” he writes. “It is hard to imagine anything more likely to rip apart a society than attempting a wealth transfer based on this principle.” Murray does attempt to negotiate some divides reasonably, arguing against “exclusionary lines” and for Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s call for a more vigorous and welcoming civil culture. Too often, however, the author falters, as when he derides Gen. Mark Milley for saying, “I want to understand white rage. And I’m white”—perhaps forgetting the climacteric White rage that Milley monitored on January 6, 2021.

A scattershot exercise in preaching to the choir.

Pub Date: April 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-316202-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Broadside Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2022

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