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Bonds of Affection: Civic Charity and the Making of America--Winthrop, Jefferson, and Lincoln (Religion and Politics series) Paperback – October 4, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1589011830 ISBN-10: 158901183X Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Series: Religion and Politics series
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Georgetown University Press; First Edition edition (October 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158901183X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589011830
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,445,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A book well worth reading, both in terms of its insights into American politics and as an example of how to read texts carefully." -- Politics and Religion



"[A] thoughtfully and carefully crafted book...Holland's command of the literature and critical analysis of the texts are truly impressive." -- Library Journal



" Bonds of Affection is an exemplary piece of scholarship. It is thoughtfully conceived and rigorously argued. Readers will be impressed by the exceptional breadth and depth of knowledge displayed, as well as by the author's philosophical sophistication and interpretative skills. Matthew S. Holland is a rising star in the field of American political thought." -- Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Princeton University



"Matthew Holland reminds us of a concept we are in danger of forgetting: civic affection and the role it played in the forming of our union. Although we may never meet face to face, citizens are united by bonds that go beyond self-interest -- that is Holland's thesis -- and he elaborates it with careful historic analysis. An interesting and moving work." -- Jean Bethke Elshtain, Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics, The University of Chicago and author of Democracy on Trial



"In this insightful and elegantly written book, Matthew Holland recovers a tradition of 'civic charity' that transcends the one-sided 'individualism' of modern liberal theory and practice. He richly illuminates the philosophical statesmanship of Winthrop, Jefferson, and Lincoln and reflects deeply on the 'bonds of affection' that bind and elevate human beings. This is an important scholarly contribution as well as an aid to American self-understanding." -- Daniel J. Mahoney, Assumption College



"Holland offers a fresh new reading of standard Lincoln texts, especially of the Second Inaugural, which is quite an accomplishment given the voluminous scholarship deconstructing Lincoln texts. His argument for 'civic charity' in public life will challenge Lincoln scholars to think again about accommodations between the secular and the sacred in the meaning and intent of Lincoln's words." -- Bryon Andreasen, research historian, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum



"Argues persuasively that ideas of Christian love and charity have played a much larger role in American political thought than usually suggested. Matthew S. Holland earns our trust in telling this compelling story because of his meticulous scholarship, employment of multiple angles of vision in the close reading of historical texts, and a lucid writing style that seamlessly brings together the there and then with the here and now." -- Ronald C. White Jr., author of The Eloquent President: A Portrait of Lincoln Through His Words

About the Author

Matthew S. Holland is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Brigham Young University.


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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By David M. Pence on December 30, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bonds of Affection: Civic Charity and the American Founding
Professor Matthew Holland has written a book with a great back cover filled with the effusive praise of well known political thinkers. The inside is even better.
He takes seriously both tablets of biblical religion (the vertical love of God and the horizontal love of neighbor) and proposes that American civic life is best understood as a form of this Christian love. He understands the Greeks but he is no Greek. He argues that civic life is animated by agape-that distinctive Christian love that "includes concern for another's standing before God even when others mean us harm." This of course has implications for how we treat our enemies and our fellow citizens.
Holland finds agape informing the language and political goals of American leaders for two centuries by studying several key authors and texts: John Winthrop(1630-A Model of Christian Charity); Thomas Jefferson(rough draft of the Declaration of Independence-1776 and his First Inaugural Address-1801); and Abraham Lincoln(Second Inaugural-1865). Holland takes seriously Christian charity as a realistic way to deal with public life. He convincingly argues that for both Lincoln and Jefferson it was the realistic crucible of office which forged a deeper sensibility of the necessity of the bonds of charity in civic life. Holland's treatment of Jefferson is especially careful. Holland does not play the Christian alchemist turning Enlightenment rights into Christian love but he reminds us that even the most rights oriented of Jefferson's writings ends with a bond -"we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor." Holland reminds us this was no idle pledge. To secure that bond one percent of Americans lost their lives.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on May 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
One of the hallmarks of true greatness of character is that of philanthropy. Be it the 'widow's mite' or the millionaire's largess. "Let All Your Things be Done with Charity". "Bonds of Affection : Civic Charity and the Making of America - Winthrop, Jefferson, and Lincoln" follows three great men and how their acts of charity shaped our country as it is today for the better. Author Matthew S. Holland, an assistant professor at the Department of Political Science at Brigham Young University highlights the brilliant and compassionate statesmanship of the three men and brings them into a new light. Highly recommended for both American history and political science shelves as an optimistic and heartwarming look at politics for a change.
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By E. Townsend on August 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Matthew Holland has a way with words, and great flare in his obvious love for the subject matter. Not a quick read. A collection of deep thoughts. Leads one to ponder on the future of this great country.
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3 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Nigel Bennett on December 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
Holland tries to develop a great topic with little insight and and even less training. This is a typical Brigham Young University publication--constantly proclaiming that "America is great because God says so!" Why not give us some real reasons backed up by scholarly research.

One wonders if Mr. Holland is working at BYU largely because of his connections as opposed to his scholarship. But then again, if learning how to be a good citizen and about what makes our nation great was really important to BYU they wouldn't have 600+ students crammed into a cavernous lecture hall.
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