Friday, January 15, 2010

Book Review: Rediscovering God in America

Before you read to far in this book review, know that I received the book from Booksneeze.  Well, I didn't, really.  I got it from the Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers program.  It's just been renamed Booksneeze, which is much easier to type.



Rediscovering God in America

Rediscovering God in America by Newt Gingrich, with appropriate credit to Callista Gingrich for the photography work.

What do I think of this book?  Well, I think it's really 2 separate works.  So, let's look at each work.

The first work is the combined photo layouts of memorials, architecture, and artwork around Washington D.C. and an explanation of the history and meaning of the symbolism behind them.  It's based on a walking tour of D.C., and covers some well-known buildings, like the Washington Monument and the Capitol, and some that I wouldn't have thought of, like the Roosevelt Memorial or the Reagan Building. 

Each stop is photographed, and various highlights also well photographed.  The history and explanations are well written.  I found it interesting to read the story behind the acquisition of Arlington Cemetery from the family of General Lee.  I am also glad to have the photographs and walkthrough of the US Capitol, now that security concerns prevent Americans from visiting their own Capitol building.

The other part of the book, the second work under the same cover and title, is the former Speaker's personal opinions on the current political and anti-Christian leanings.  These opinions are well stated.  I struggle with listening to someone who paid one of the largest ethics fines in Congressional history express frustration about our lack of national morality.  I also wonder where these expressions and sentiments were for the last 8 years.  For example, Speaker Gingrich expresses that the National World War Two Memorial, as the newest memorial, is also the most secular.  He's right, but the memorial is 5 years old at the time of writing!

Why was this book not written in 2006? While I find myself in agreement with many of the opinions expressed, they were just as true of the country and government then.  It seems too much like the former Speaker is trying to connect America's departure from our heritage as a Christian nation with his opposition to the current President.

This book had the potential to be a good explanation of the Christian heritage of America, to show how the very buildings of our government cry out that our heritage is in the Lord.  I think it would have been better had the weight of history been allowed to speak for itself, rather than having a currently politically active person use the information as an opportunity to advance his own opinions.

3 stars out of 5.  The photography and history rates 4. The Newt Gingrich political rhetoric gets a 2. Averages at 3.


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