God and Ronald Reagan: A Spiritual Life

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Harper Collins, Mar 17, 2009 - Political Science - 432 pages
4 Reviews

Ronald Reagan is hailed today for a presidency that restored optimism to America, engendered years of economic prosperity, and helped bring about the fall of the Soviet Union. Yet until now little attention has been paid to the role Reagan's personal spirituality played in his political career, shaping his ideas, bolstering his resolve, and ultimately compelling him to confront the brutal -- and, not coincidentally, atheistic -- Soviet empire.

In this groundbreaking book, political historian Paul Kengor draws upon Reagan's legacy of speeches and correspondence, and the memories of those who knew him well, to reveal a man whose Christian faith remained deep and consistent throughout his more than six decades in public life. Raised in the Disciples of Christ Church by a devout mother with a passionate missionary streak, Reagan embraced the church after reading a Christian novel at the age of eleven. A devoted Sunday-school teacher, he absorbed the church's model of "practical Christianity" and strived to achieve it in every stage of his life.

But it was in his lifelong battle against communism -- first in Hollywood, then on the political stage -- that Reagan's Christian beliefs had their most profound effect. Appalled by the religious repression and state-mandated atheism of Bolshevik Marxism, Reagan felt called by a sense of personal mission to confront the USSR. Inspired by influences as diverse as C.S. Lewis, Whittaker Chambers, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, he waged an openly spiritual campaign against communism, insisting that religious freedom was the bedrock of personal liberty. "The source of our strength in the quest for human freedom is not material, but spiritual," he said in his Evil Empire address. "And because it knows no limitation, it must terrify and ultimately triumph over those who would enslave their fellow man."

From a church classroom in 1920s Dixon, Illinois, to his triumphant mission to Moscow in 1988, Ronald Reagan was both political leader and spiritual crusader. God and Ronald Reagan deepens immeasurably our understanding of how these twin missions shaped his presidency -- and changed the world.

 

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User Review  - SCRH - LibraryThing

I am glad I read this book. Ronald Reagan became a Christian at an early age. He knew that being a Christian is more than simply wearing the label or going to church. I learned that he was influenced ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - norwayken - LibraryThing

I am glad I read this book. Ronald Reagan became a Christian at an early age. He knew that being a Christian is more than simply wearing the label or going to church. I learned that he was influenced ... Read full review

Contents

Jack and Nelle
1
That Printer of Udells
17
Inheritance
27
From Eureka to Hollywood
41
War and Evil in Moscow
57
Two Witnesses
75
America as a Chosen Land
89
The Freedom Crusader
101
The Oval Office
157
Religion and
171
Gods Will and
197
Washingtons AntiCommunist
217
The Evil Empire
233
A Message for Communist
271
Rendezvous
321
Acknowledgments
353

God in Sacramento
115
Two Campaigns
139
Index of Names
415
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Paul Kengor is the author of the New York Times extended-list bestseller God and Ronald Reagan as well as God and George W. Bush and The Crusader. He is a professor of political science and director of the Center for Vision and Values at Grove City College. He lives with his wife and children in Grove City, Pennsylvania.

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