Hand of Providence: The Strong and Quiet Faith of Ronald Reagan Hardcover – Mar 25 2004
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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.
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
When President Reagan died I felt that I wanted know more about his faith and family. This book gave me a rare peek into the very private life of President and Mrs. Reagan. Read morePublished on June 11 2004
Fantastic book. I received it as a gift. Once I started it, I couldn't put it down. It surveys the life of Reagan and how God was preparing him for a specific purpose. Read morePublished on March 29 2004
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