Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Book Review: The Book that Made Your World

As part of the Booksneeze program, I had the chance to read The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization by Vishal Mangalwadi. 

A pretty big book (464 pages), I have to confess I was a bit intimidated a bit when it arrived.  But I dug in anyway.

From the publisher:
Discover how the Bible became the West’s source of human rights, justice, heroism, optimism, compassion, capitalism, family, and morality.
In the 1960s many from the West went to the East in search of spiritual wisdom. The Book That Made Your World reverses the journey. Vishal Mangalwadi, an Indian philosopher, takes readers on a historical journey through the last millennium, exploring why and how the Bible reformed Europe and made the West a uniquely thinking civilization: technical and tolerant, scientific and free, just and prosperous. Readers will learn:
  • Why an American president puts his hand on the Bible to take the oath of a secular office
  • What forced British monarchs from Henry VIII to James I to submit to the Bible’s authority
  • Why Bible translators Wycliffe, Luther, and Tyndale became history’s greatest revolutionaries
  • How the Bible globalized western education
I have read just a bit about this general topic before, and I was looking forward to learning more.  What I hadn't really thought about was what a difference it was going to make to read this particular author.  His Indian perspective on the importance of the Bible in Western Civilization was fascinating.  I kept thinking about Democracy in America, and how as an outsider Alexis de Tocqueville was able to offer a unique insight into the politics of early 19th century America.

Mangalwadi has a similar impact.  Being from Asia, he is able to document the impact of the Bible on Western Civilization as an outsider.  Being from India, he is also able to look at Western Civilization's impact on his nation.  And he can look at the various Eastern religions first-hand as well, in a way that an American author really couldn't.

This book is going on my list of required high school reading for my children.  I'd put it on a required list of reading for everyone else I knew if I could.  I can't though, so instead I'll just highly recommend it to everyone who reads this review.

Disclaimer: As a 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...

Nice review. I was interested in this book (but haven't made it through my previous book!) and now I'm even MORE interested.
I'll have to look for it soon.

Debra said...

Isn't that just the worst? I signed up to do these book reviews so I wouldn't spend so much money on books. Instead, I keep seeing all these wonderful titles that I didn't get to review, and I could easily be spending MORE instead of less...

This is a good one though...

Unknown said...

And even worse then that, having access to Kindle makes it SOOOOO stinkin easy to spend money once you find a new good author. :). I'm definitely spending more money, not less.

Debra said...

Oh, Amy, I hear you. Same for me with my Nook...