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God's Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save America Hardcover – September 10, 2007

3.8 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Envisioned by its founder as a "Christian equivalent of the Ivy League," Patrick Henry College positions itself as a training ground for God's cultural soldiers to take on the secular mainstream; at the seven-year-old Virginia school for evangelicals, religion and political journalist Rosin reports, girls are warned by e-mail if their bra strap is showing, dating requires parental permission and students fast forward through sex scenes in movies. Though they might seem out of touch, students here are as ambitious as any Ivy Leaguers, interning in the White House and Hollywood, volunteering on political campaigns and doggedly pursuing studies like baraminology (creationist biology). Having spent a year and a half immersed in the campus culture, Rosin weaves a deft and honest narrative of evangelical education, combining historical background (the roots of evangelism, the story of founder Michael Farris), close observation and skeptical wit. Among other students and faculty, Rosin introduces Derek, the fresh-faced, idealistic political volunteer; and Farahn, who gave up dancing for the Lord. Making it clear that the American evangelical population is growing in political and cultural influence, Rosin provides an illuminating, accessible guide to the beliefs, aspirations and ongoing challenges of its next generation.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Patrick Henry College, just outside the nation's capital, is a small school preparing Christian Fundamentalist youth to become the elite of the future, permeating politics and American culture to change what they see as an ungodly nation. Washington Post reporter Rosin spent a year and a half among the faithful, watching the efforts of school founder Michael Farris to mold the next generation of evangelicals. She follows the lives of students, nearly all of them previously homeschooled, as they cope with college life, the world of Washington politics, and questions about their faith and their futures. Farahn, a ballet dancer, is an attractive, somewhat cynical misfit, who struggles through the year. Daniel Noa is trying to reconcile his conservative persona at school with the greater tolerance of his hometown of Hollywood, where growing numbers of Christian filmmakers are making their mark. Elisa is a bright, earnest young woman, chafing at the expectations that she will curb her ambitions and devote herself to a future husband and children. A captivating look at struggles within the conservative movement. Bush, Vanessa
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (September 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151012628
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151012626
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,273,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Rosin does a wonderful reporting job and writes eloquently on the culture she sought to understand. However, having worked at Patrick Henry College for a time, I found her examples too extreme and not typical of the students I met. She never gives a 'normal' example of students there, but instead focuses on the more peculiar types of students. This does make the book more entertaining to read. Her perception of the controversies among Christian circles is profound, and it would be helpful for Christians to read this book and see themselves from an outside perspective that is both respectful and insightful.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Several intertwined stories:

*How several overly-religious, over-achieving youngsters cope with a new and unique overly-religious, over-achieving college.

*How these students decide where to draw the line when it comes to participation in today's seductive secular culture - with the help of prayer, a personal relationship with Jesus, and Patrick Henry College's conduct manual and "snitch" policy.

*How an attorney, who made a career out of representing the interests of home-schooling parents, opened an evangelical college designed to put high achieving home-schoolers on a career path leading to politics. Student volunteers are given time off to assist the Republicans during each election cycle. A huge number of them get positions assisting Republican Congressmen and Senators in Washington DC during their off time.

*How these kids have been taught since birth that God is on the side of the Republican Party.

Patrick Henry College must tweak a continuous balancing act to maintain their offense and defense against secularism. Founder and President Michael Farris would like PHC to be part of the movement that would return the United States to be the God-fearing society it believes the founding fathers intended. This means an education that enhances a working knowledge of and working relationship with the enemy. That knowledge, at times, enhances the inadvertent defection of some of their brightest stars to the dark side.

Robert Stacey, PhD, consistently was a role model and favored teacher at Patrick Henry.
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Format: Paperback
Hanna Rosin, journalist who covers religion and politics for the Washington Post, is somehow permitted to get an in-depth look at the goings on at Patrick Henry College, a conservative Christian school that recruits the brightest and best homeschooled students. Why any Patrick Henry alum should be surprised that this book should have a liberal bent completely escapes me... what boggles my mind is how even-handed she strives to be while making observations about this fervent, religious, and idealistic youths.

Not to say that she doesn't throw in her own agenda. For instance, she makes it perfectly clear that abstinence programs are generally statistical failures. She finds it baffling (as do I!) that fundamentalist Christians are so on guard about any sexual images in movies but seem to whole-heartedly embrace violence and gore. She is suspect of the conversion process; when describing a little girl who has "just accepted Christ" during a church Awana meeting (Awana is like scouts for consevative Christians) she states that after her leader welcomes her to God's family, the girl's "expression stayed blank and she seemed a little off balance. At one point she looked down at her pink T-shirt, which read GIRLS RULE! in bubbly script."

Rosin observes these students like an anthropologist, and indeed the culture described makes for riveting reading material. What makes it even more interesting is that these students, who have lived in self-enclosed Christian bubbles for most of their lives, are themselves acting as anthropoligists, studying "heathen" culture while trying not to become too immersed in it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rosin's recent book THE END OF MEN (2012) prompted me to order this book through Amazon. God's Harvard (2007) is a fast read, informative, and well-written. Rosin tackles the difficult topics of home-schooling, creationism vs. evolution, and the search for perfectionism in a most imperfect world through a new (2000) small Patrick Henry College, near Washington, D.C. The students are gearing toward careers in politics to promote their conservative Christian elite views.

She spends much time with the college's founder MIchael Farris, students, and faculty. The students have done very well, most have been home-schooled, and some maxed their SATs. They must avoid the usual collegic distraction of alcohol and premarital sex. Five of the 16 faculty members at that time left or were fired as their views seemed too liberal. Rosin is an an exceptional observer and reporter whose writing frequents the best of national periodicals. This paperback is worth the time and small cost with rapid delivery via Amazon.com.
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