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Hand of Providence: The Strong and Quiet Faith of Ronald Reagan [Hardcover]

Mary Brown
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 25 2004
According to recent opinion polls, Ronald Reagan is the most popular of modern presidents, and yet to most biographers the man is still an enigma.  This is because, as Brown explains, no one has ever focused on this great mans faith.  This book explores the life and personality of Ronald Reagan by focusing on his deep-felt Christian beliefs and showing how faith guided him along his distinguished career and led him to his unprecedented success.  With the support of Ronald Reagans own words and writings and first-hand interviews of Ronald Reagans family, friends, and co-workers, Brown weaves a magnificent story of Reagans strong devotion to God that will not only inspire Christians to enter public service and allow their faith to motivate all their actions but also help point others to the Cross of Jesus Christ-a cause that was near and dear to President Reagans heart.

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About the Author

Mary Beth Brown is the author of the New York Times and USA Today best-selling book, Hand of Providence: The Strong and Quiet Faith of Ronald Reagan and Condi: The Life of a Steel Magnolia. Mary Beth writes a nationally syndicated column, which can be viewed at www.marybethbrown.net, and is a frequent guest on radio and TV.

From AudioFile

Reader Chris Fabry fully captures the devotional tone intended by the author. Mary Beth Brown, who reads the preface, admits that her book is not a scholarly work on Reagan's Christian faith; rather, its aim is to inspire people about Christianity. The book focuses on Reagan's relationships with his wife, his children, his parents, and other members of his family, and the place of his faith in those relationships. It allows readers to see Reagan not simply as a politician, but as a husband, father, and friend. As a bonus for Reagan fans, this audiobook contains the eulogies of Margaret Thatcher, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, and the Reagan children delivered at Reagan's memorial service. M.L.C. © AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Just to get the politics out of the way, I am definitely a fan of Reagan.
That said, I think this was a poorly written book. First, the tone is entirely too close to Reagan. Obviously, the author is not a historian by training or by profession, but the book would have been a better read if it had not had such a boosterish tone.
The book also suffers from a simple case of bad writing. Though there are no howlers such as dangling participles, the book certainly has a "rushed, first-draft" tone to it. It contains many stylistic false steps, and reminds me of a mediocre term paper written by a high school student. "Reagan did blah blah blah. Reagan blah blah blah." How about using the pronoun "he" once in a while?
The text is also pedantic and given to cliches. ("the period in life between the innocence of childhood and the full responsibilities is a very challenging time.")
It veers off-topic on occasion. A discussion of the assassination attempt leads to a page-plus discussion on Biblical texts relating to angels.
Citations from noted evangelical leaders (James Dobson, for example) serve more to indicate that the author is plugged into that community; they do not, however, give much illumination to Reagan. Since they don't add anything, they simply waste space.
While the book makes an attempt to link Reagan's foreign policy with his religious views, more time could have been spent making the same connection on the domestic front. Many people think that Christian charity requires government programs. I don't share that assessment, and neither did Reagan. What about Reagan's beliefs lead him to reject that association? A case can be made, but the author doesn't do it.
The book does have some value.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good Introduction to Reagan June 22 2004
This book does not claim to offer an in-depth biography of Reagan, just an introduction to a frequently ignored but fundamental aspect of Reagan: his religious faith in God's plan for each individual. The book is personally inspiring because Reagan himself had his tough times: an alcoholic father, a broken engagement early on, a terrible death threat from Hollywood Communists, losing an infant child, an unexpected divorce, a disappointing movie career, and a tough loss to Gerald Ford for the 1976 Republican nomination. And yet throughout all of this, Reagan maintained his sense of destiny rooted in trust that, by God's providence, all would in the end turn out for the better. And it did.
On a more political level, the book has a chapter that captures a coalition that came into its own under Reagan and may very well decide the current presidential election: the coalition of evangelical Protestants and conservative Catholics. The Republican Party of today is unimaginable without that coalition. And all of that is owed to Ronald Reagan who, as the book points out, was uniquely situated to foster this new coalition, given his background with a Catholic father and an evangelical Protestant mother.
The book captures what is most important about Reagan, and for that it is well worth the price.
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2.0 out of 5 stars I am Not Enamored April 1 2004
By Maggie
I have to admit to being suspicious of a book that purports to plumb the depths of the faith of someone who rarely went to worship services for decades, and whose main demonstration of faith seemed to be his references to good versus evil (e.g., the Soviets), and his stated belief in Armageddon. However, it is clear that Mr. Reagan did have a belief structure to his life, which makes the examination thereof a not-unreasonable task.
However, I found this book to be overly-facile and simplistic. Further, I do not detect the depth of research that, in my view, one should bring to as important a subject as an ex-President of Reagan's stature. Like him or not, one must admit that Reagan presided over the executive branch during some momentous events and that, further, he had not-negligible skills as a President. But after reading this book, I must admit that I still don't understand either Reagan the man or Reagan the president any better, nor do I feel that I have many insights, if any, into how his faith played into his policy decisions.
I am afraid that, unlike the other reviewers, I cannot recommend this book. There is an excellent book waiting to be written on this topic, but this isn't it.
I must admit that, in light of the current effort to canonize Reagan, I am completely unsurprised that my review has received so many "unhelpful" votes. I guess anything less than 5 stars is going to get that.
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