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In a thoughtful and carefully crafted book, Holland (political science, Brigham Young Univ.) argues that civic charity is an important, if unappreciated, component of America's political culture. He meticulously traces the biblical tradition of Christian charity, agape, and how the idea or value of charity made its way into American political life. In charity's transition from a religious to a civic value, it becomes civic charity. Civic charity, Holland contends, calls for "a public recognition of and gratitude for a God of judgment and providence even as it respects and helps establish a constitutionally robust pluralism including a substantial degree of separation of church and state." To support his argument, he conducts a close contextual analysis of three of America's greatest and most influential speeches: John Winthrop's "A Model of Christian Charity," Jefferson's first inaugural address, and Lincoln's second inaugural address and traces the intellectual threads that connect them. Holland's command of the literature and critical analysis of the texts are truly impressive. Not a book that the average patron will select for casual reading, this work is recommended primarily for all academic libraries and larger public libraries that support academic research.
—Thomas J. Baldino