A controversial view of America’s past and future that will appeal to Christian readers.

IF YOU CAN KEEP IT

THE FORGOTTEN PROMISE OF AMERICAN LIBERTY

God blesses America, the author contends.

Admitting that “the idea that God had chosen this nation for great things does not sit comfortably with modern sensibilities,” Metaxas (Lecturer at Large/The King’s Coll.; Seven Women: And the Secret of Their Greatness, 2015, etc.) nevertheless makes a faith-based argument for American exceptionalism. He believes that the Founding Fathers incorporated into the Constitution the Golden Triangle of Freedom: “freedom requires virtue; virtue requires faith; and faith requires freedom,” an idea articulated by British social critic Os Guiness. Metaxas exhorts Americans today to revitalize freedom by behaving virtuously, insisting on virtuous leaders, and recognizing the significance of Judeo-Christian religion in the nation’s identity and destiny. “There are certain populations in Europe whose unbelief is only equaled by their ignorance and debasement,” writes the author, “while in America, one of the freest and most enlightened nations in the world, the people fulfill with fervor all the outward duties of religion.” Metaxas is convinced that God has played “a central role” in America’s history.” “What we have are gifts from God,” he writes, “intended for us to steward in such a way as to bless as many people as possible.” Americans, therefore, must take up God’s mission to share democratic ideals with the whole world. Among the historic events that he believes God influenced was the writing of the Constitution, in which the Fathers conceded, “the finger of the Almighty might indeed have been involved.” Acknowledging that the nation has not always acted virtuously, the author encourages citizens to celebrate love of country through the arts (he cites the movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington as both critical and inspiring); rituals (celebrating Flag Day); and memorizing poetry, such as “Paul Revere’s Ride.”

A controversial view of America’s past and future that will appeal to Christian readers.

Pub Date: June 14, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-97998-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: April 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2016

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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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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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