Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Book Review: The Faith of Ronald Reagan

I have been fascinated by Ronald Reagan almost as long as I've been interested in politics.  The first presidential election I really paid attention to was in 1980.  I remember how depressing everything was in the late 70s.  The world was going to end either from a new ice age (global cooling) or from a nuclear disaster.  The Soviet Union was scary and unstoppable.  Gas prices, well, all prices, were through the roof.  Gas lines, runaway inflation, hostages in Iran.  It seemed totally never-ending, and completely overwhelming.  At least it did to this teen. 

And then this actor entered the presidential race.  Apparently he had run before (1976), but that wasn't something I really knew.  Reagan looked so calm and confident, and talked of brighter times to come.  President Carter made me feel like things would never get better.  Governor Reagan made me believe that they would.  And he was so much fun to listen to.  "There he goes again."  Or, on a horrible day early in his presidency, "Honey, I forgot to duck."

So when The Faith of Ronald Reagan by Mary Beth Brown showed up on Booksneeze, I knew I had to request to review it.  And when it arrived, I had to set things aside and read it right away.

From the publisher:
Explore the life and personality of President Ronald Reagan through the lens of his deep-felt Christian beliefs.
With warmth and insight, Mary Beth Brown delves into the spiritual journey of America’s 40th president and offers profound stories of God’s providence in Ronald Reagan’s life—from first making it as an actor to winning the presidency, from surviving an assassination attempt to eventually changing the face of world politics. With the support of Reagan’s own words and writings and firsthand interviews with his family, friends, and co-workers, Brown weaves a magnificent story of Reagan’s quiet, strong devotion to God, sure to both inform and inspire.
Timed for the Reagan centenary in 2011 and released in a season of intense political unrest, The Faith of Ronald Reagan is strikingly relevant for today’s reader.
Having finished the book, I immediately informed my husband he needed to make time to read this one (he tends to do mostly audiobooks).  And I will be requiring it of my kids when we do American history in high school.  Or I may read it aloud to them right now.

It is that good.

Brown pulls so much from Reagan's writings and speeches, plus a whole lot from people who knew him well. 

I learned so much about Reagan, about his mother, about his faith, about his prayer life.  The Faith of Ronald Reagan challenged me, the way a great biography of a great man should.  I cannot possibly recommend this highly enough.  So -- one caveat -- while she hints at some mistakes Reagan made along the way, this is an incredibly sympathetic portrayal.  It is focused on FAITH though, and I will have my children read other material about Reagan as well.  I wouldn't exactly classify this as "biography" but I do classify it as a must-read for my family.

Disclaimer:  As Booksneeze Blogger, I did receive this book for free from Thomas Nelson.  No other compensation was received.  For more about my take on reviews, visit my blog post here.


Blossom Barden (NorthLaurel) said...

This book definitely gave me a different perspective of Reagan and that I appreciated. Glad you enjoyed it :)

Chris Gunn said...

Oh Debra I wish I would have reviewed this now! I am a Ronald Reagan fan, but am not too keen on biographies right now with limited time. I might have to pick it up anyway now!!
On another note, I haven't participated in the past in too many blog events, awards, meme's etc due to lack of time, but I decided when I was nominated for the Stylish Blogger award I'd pass it along to some of my favs and let them know just how much I enjoy your blog, and friendship. So I have nominated you as a Stylish Blogger:

Michelle Smith said...

This looks like a really interesting book, and I love what you've shared about it. I'm tempted to read this one, myself. Did I ever tell you that I attended Reagan's inauguration in 1981? I won't tell how old I was, but I was old enough to remember it pretty well. ;)