God and Ronald Reagan: A Spiritual Life

God and Ronald Reagan: A Spiritual Life

4.8 13
by Paul Kengor
     
 

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Ronald Reagan is hailed today for a presidency that restored optimism to America, engendered years of economic prosperity, and helped bring about the fall of the Soviet Union. Yet until now little attention has been paid to the role Reagan's personal spirituality played in his political career, shaping his ideas, bolstering his resolve, and ultimately compelling

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Overview

Ronald Reagan is hailed today for a presidency that restored optimism to America, engendered years of economic prosperity, and helped bring about the fall of the Soviet Union. Yet until now little attention has been paid to the role Reagan's personal spirituality played in his political career, shaping his ideas, bolstering his resolve, and ultimately compelling him to confront the brutal -- and, not coincidentally, atheistic -- Soviet empire.

In this groundbreaking book, political historian Paul Kengor draws upon Reagan's legacy of speeches and correspondence, and the memories of those who knew him well, to reveal a man whose Christian faith remained deep and consistent throughout his more than six decades in public life. Raised in the Disciples of Christ Church by a devout mother with a passionate missionary streak, Reagan embraced the church after reading a Christian novel at the age of eleven. A devoted Sunday-school teacher, he absorbed the church's model of "practical Christianity" and strived to achieve it in every stage of his life.

But it was in his lifelong battle against communism -- first in Hollywood, then on the political stage -- that Reagan's Christian beliefs had their most profound effect. Appalled by the religious repression and state-mandated atheism of Bolshevik Marxism, Reagan felt called by a sense of personal mission to confront the USSR. Inspired by influences as diverse as C.S. Lewis, Whittaker Chambers, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, he waged an openly spiritual campaign against communism, insisting that religious freedom was the bedrock of personal liberty. "The source of our strength in the quest for human freedom is not material, but spiritual," he said in his Evil Empire address. "And because it knows no limitation, it must terrify and ultimately triumph over those who would enslave their fellow man."

From a church classroom in 1920s Dixon, Illinois, to his triumphant mission to Moscow in 1988, Ronald Reagan was both political leader and spiritual crusader. God and Ronald Reagan deepens immeasurably our understanding of how these twin missions shaped his presidency -- and changed the world.

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Editorial Reviews

Peter Robinson
"A profound character study, an engrossing work of history...a heartbreakingly beautiful love story about one man and his Maker."
Judge - William P. Clark
"Paul Kengor now reveals the inner heart and soul of this great man."
Peter Schweizer
"Paul Kengor takes the reader to depths where no other writer has yet been—Ronald Reagan’s very soul. "
Donald M. Goldstein
"God and Ronald Reagan fundamentally transforms the historical view of Ronald Reagan and his place in the 20th century."
Steven F. Hayward
"Paul Kengor has performed a masterful service by shining a light on this underappreciated but central aspect of Reagan’s life."
Stephen Knott
"[A] superb book—no interpretation of Ronald Reagan will be complete without reference to this vital work."
Andrew E. Busch
"In this meticulously researched and insightful book, Paul Kengor finds the ultimate source of Ronald Reagan’s resolve against communism."
Matthew Dallek
"God and Ronald Reagan deepens our understanding of Reagan’s life and the times in which he governed."
Rich Lowry
"Illuminates the role of faith in the life and worldview of one of the 20th century’s most important figures."
Lee Edwards
"Illuminates the role of faith in the life and worldview of one of the 20th century’s most important figures."
Edwin Meese III
"Paul Kengor has written an excellent book which explores a previously neglected aspect of Reagan’s life—his religious faith."
Robert P. George
"In the vast body of Reagan scholarship, what’s been missing is a spiritual biography. Kengor has admirably supplied our need."
Kenneth W. Thompson
"A penetrating history of the President’s evolving religious faith and its articulation in different settings during his career."
Marvin Olasky
"Paul Kengor offers not only a thorough history of Reagan’s religious development but a good and sardonic eye for detail."
Hugh Heclo
"Paul Kengor’s book offers a deeper understanding than can be found in any of the conventional academic literature."
David A. Noebel
"For anyone who believes Christianity and politics don’t mix needs to read this work on an American president."
Ryan J. Barilleaux
"God and Ronald Reagan makes an important contribution to our understanding of the last major president of the 20th century."
Gary L. Gregg
"The conservative Christian who rarely went to church. That is the conundrum most pundits used to refer to Ronald Reagan when discussing his reltionship to religion. God and Ronald Reagan helps us finally come to grips wiht the man and the presidency taht was Ronald Reagan. From childhood to the Cold War, Paul Kengor has unearthed the Ropnald Reagan most of knew was there but which few of us had the chance to see. Enjoyable and enlightening."
Shirley Anne Warshaw
"Paul Kengor has addressed a critical issue in today’s study of the American Presidency: how religious background influences presidential decisions. This is a book particularly important to presidential scholars who are assessing President George W. Bush and how he too has interwoven his political and religious beliefs in presidential decisions."
—Peter Robinson
“A profound character study, an engrossing work of history...a heartbreakingly beautiful love story about one man and his Maker.”
—Judge William P. Clark
“Paul Kengor now reveals the inner heart and soul of this great man.”
—Peter Schweizer
“Paul Kengor takes the reader to depths where no other writer has yet been—Ronald Reagan’s very soul. ”
—Donald M. Goldstein
“God and Ronald Reagan fundamentally transforms the historical view of Ronald Reagan and his place in the 20th century.”
—Steven F. Hayward
“Paul Kengor has performed a masterful service by shining a light on this underappreciated but central aspect of Reagan’s life.”
—Stephen Knott
“[A] superb book—no interpretation of Ronald Reagan will be complete without reference to this vital work.”
—Andrew E. Busch
“In this meticulously researched and insightful book, Paul Kengor finds the ultimate source of Ronald Reagan’s resolve against communism.”
—Matthew Dallek
“God and Ronald Reagan deepens our understanding of Reagan’s life and the times in which he governed.”
—Rich Lowry
“Illuminates the role of faith in the life and worldview of one of the 20th century’s most important figures.”
—Lee Edwards
“Illuminates the role of faith in the life and worldview of one of the 20th century’s most important figures.”
—Edwin Meese III
“Paul Kengor has written an excellent book which explores a previously neglected aspect of Reagan’s life—his religious faith.”
—Robert P. George
“In the vast body of Reagan scholarship, what’s been missing is a spiritual biography. Kengor has admirably supplied our need.”
—Kenneth W. Thompson
“A penetrating history of the President’s evolving religious faith and its articulation in different settings during his career.”
—Marvin Olasky
“Paul Kengor offers not only a thorough history of Reagan’s religious development but a good and sardonic eye for detail.”
—Hugh Heclo
“Paul Kengor’s book offers a deeper understanding than can be found in any of the conventional academic literature.”
—David A. Noebel
“For anyone who believes Christianity and politics don’t mix needs to read this work on an American president.”
—Ryan J. Barilleaux
“God and Ronald Reagan makes an important contribution to our understanding of the last major president of the 20th century.”
—Gary L. Gregg
“The conservative Christian who rarely went to church. That is the conundrum most pundits used to refer to Ronald Reagan when discussing his reltionship to religion. God and Ronald Reagan helps us finally come to grips wiht the man and the presidency taht was Ronald Reagan. From childhood to the Cold War, Paul Kengor has unearthed the Ropnald Reagan most of knew was there but which few of us had the chance to see. Enjoyable and enlightening.”
—Shirley Anne Warshaw
“Paul Kengor has addressed a critical issue in today’s study of the American Presidency: how religious background influences presidential decisions. This is a book particularly important to presidential scholars who are assessing President George W. Bush and how he too has interwoven his political and religious beliefs in presidential decisions.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060571429
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
01/18/2005
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
224,154
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
16 Years

What People are saying about this

Shirley Anne Warshaw
“Paul Kengor has addressed a critical issue in today’s study of the American Presidency: how religious background influences presidential decisions. This is a book particularly important to presidential scholars who are assessing President George W. Bush and how he too has interwoven his political and religious beliefs in presidential decisions.”
Stephen Knott
“[A] superb book—no interpretation of Ronald Reagan will be complete without reference to this vital work.”
Peter Schweizer
“Paul Kengor takes the reader to depths where no other writer has yet been—Ronald Reagan’s very soul. ”
Steven F. Hayward
“Paul Kengor has performed a masterful service by shining a light on this underappreciated but central aspect of Reagan’s life.”
Rich Lowry
“Illuminates the role of faith in the life and worldview of one of the 20th century’s most important figures.”
Ryan J. Barilleaux
“God and Ronald Reagan makes an important contribution to our understanding of the last major president of the 20th century.”
Kenneth W. Thompson
“A penetrating history of the President’s evolving religious faith and its articulation in different settings during his career.”
Matthew Dallek
“God and Ronald Reagan deepens our understanding of Reagan’s life and the times in which he governed.”
David A. Noebel
“For anyone who believes Christianity and politics don’t mix needs to read this work on an American president.”
Peter Robinson
“A profound character study, an engrossing work of history...a heartbreakingly beautiful love story about one man and his Maker.”
Andrew E. Busch
“In this meticulously researched and insightful book, Paul Kengor finds the ultimate source of Ronald Reagan’s resolve against communism.”
Marvin Olasky
“Paul Kengor offers not only a thorough history of Reagan’s religious development but a good and sardonic eye for detail.”
Hugh Heclo
“Paul Kengor’s book offers a deeper understanding than can be found in any of the conventional academic literature.”
Edwin Meese III
“Paul Kengor has written an excellent book which explores a previously neglected aspect of Reagan’s life—his religious faith.”
William P. Clark
“Paul Kengor now reveals the inner heart and soul of this great man.”
Donald M. Goldstein
“God and Ronald Reagan fundamentally transforms the historical view of Ronald Reagan and his place in the 20th century.”
Robert P. George
“In the vast body of Reagan scholarship, what’s been missing is a spiritual biography. Kengor has admirably supplied our need.”
Lee Edwards
“Illuminates the role of faith in the life and worldview of one of the 20th century’s most important figures.”
Gary L. Gregg
“The conservative Christian who rarely went to church. That is the conundrum most pundits used to refer to Ronald Reagan when discussing his reltionship to religion. God and Ronald Reagan helps us finally come to grips wiht the man and the presidency taht was Ronald Reagan. From childhood to the Cold War, Paul Kengor has unearthed the Ropnald Reagan most of knew was there but which few of us had the chance to see. Enjoyable and enlightening.”

Read More

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