This engaging if hagiographic study argues the seemingly obvious point that the former President's outlook was shaped by his religious beliefs. Political scientist and Hoover Institution fellow Kengor has pored over Reagan's letters and speeches to glean examples of his faith, from his youth as a Disciples of Christ stalwart and Sunday school teacher to his 1988 trip to Moscow, where he lectured Communists from Gorbachev on down on the importance of religious freedom. More devotional than scholarly, Kengor's treatment emphasizes the ex-president's affinities with evangelical Protestantism; Reagan "invited Christ into his life," acknowledged God's "special plan" for him, believed in end-times prophecy and even had his presidency foretold by the Holy Spirit during a prayer circle. Readers troubled by reports of astrology at the Reagan White House are assured that it determined scheduling, not policy, and that only Nancy was really into it. Kengor accepts the links Reagan himself drew between his religious beliefs and his politics, on social issues like school prayer, sex education, and abortion, and most importantly on his anti-Communism, which harped on Soviet religious persecution and consistently identified atheism as Communism's original sin. But the spiritual rootedness Kengor highlights is not exactly of Gandhian proportions. As he too briefly acknowledges, many of Reagan's pious formulations, like the "shining city on a hill" motif and the imprecations against Communist godlessness, were commonplaces of America's "civil religion." In other words, sometimes it's hard to tell where spirituality ends and rhetoric begins.
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“A profound character study, an engrossing work of history...a heartbreakingly beautiful love story about one man and his Maker.” (Peter Robinson, Reagan speechwriter and author of How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life)
“Paul Kengor now reveals the inner heart and soul of this great man.” (Judge William P. Clark, National Security Advisor, Reagan Administration)
“Paul Kengor takes the reader to depths where no other writer has yet beenRonald Reagan’s very soul. ” (Peter Schweizer, author of Reagan's War)
“God and Ronald Reagan fundamentally transforms the historical view of Ronald Reagan and his place in the 20th century.” (Donald M. Goldstein, co-author of At Dawn We Slept)
“Paul Kengor has performed a masterful service by shining a light on this underappreciated but central aspect of Reagan’s life.” (Steven F. Hayward, author of The Age of Reagan)
“[A] superb bookno interpretation of Ronald Reagan will be complete without reference to this vital work.” (Stephen Knott, Ronald Reagan Oral History Project, University of Virginia)
“In this meticulously researched and insightful book, Paul Kengor finds the ultimate source of Ronald Reagan’s resolve against communism.” (Andrew E. Busch, author of Ronald Reagan and the Politics of Freedom)
“God and Ronald Reagan deepens our understanding of Reagan’s life and the times in which he governed.” (Matthew Dallek, author of The Right Moment: Ronald Reagan's First Victory and the Decisive Turning Point in American Politics)
“Illuminates the role of faith in the life and worldview of one of the 20th century’s most important figures.” (Rich Lowry, editor-in-chief, National Review)
“Illuminates the role of faith in the life and worldview of one of the 20th century’s most important figures.” (Lee Edwards, Distinguished Fellow, Heritage Foundation, and author of Ronald Reagan: A Political Biography)
“Paul Kengor has written an excellent book which explores a previously neglected aspect of Reagan’s lifehis religious faith.” (Edwin Meese III, Reagan administration Attorney General)
“In the vast body of Reagan scholarship, what’s been missing is a spiritual biography. Kengor has admirably supplied our need.” (Robert P. George, Princeton University)
“A penetrating history of the President’s evolving religious faith and its articulation in different settings during his career.” (Kenneth W. Thompson, University of Virginia)
“Paul Kengor offers not only a thorough history of Reagan’s religious development but a good and sardonic eye for detail.” (Marvin Olasky, professor, University of Texas at Austin and editor-in-chief of World magazine)
“Paul Kengor’s book offers a deeper understanding than can be found in any of the conventional academic literature.” (Hugh Heclo, Robinson Professor of Public Affairs, George Mason University)
“For anyone who believes Christianity and politics don’t mix needs to read this work on an American president.” (David A. Noebel, Summit Ministries)
“God and Ronald Reagan makes an important contribution to our understanding of the last major president of the 20th century.” (Ryan J. Barilleaux, Miami University of Ohio)
“The conservative Christian who rarely went to church. That is the conundrum most pundits used to refer to Ronald Reagan when discussing his reltionship to religion. God and Ronald Reagan helps us finally come to grips wiht the man and the presidency taht was Ronald Reagan. From childhood to the Cold War, Paul Kengor has unearthed the Ropnald Reagan most of knew was there but which few of us had the chance to see. Enjoyable and enlightening.” (Gary L. Gregg, Ph.D., Mitch McConnell Chair in Leadership, director, McConnell Center for Political Leadership, University of Louisville)
“Paul Kengor has addressed a critical issue in today’s study of the American Presidency: how religious background influences presidential decisions. This is a book particularly important to presidential scholars who are assessing President George W. Bush and how he too has interwoven his political and religious beliefs in presidential decisions.” (Shirley Anne Warshaw, Professor, Department of political science, Gettysburg College)
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