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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book that makes sense of American history
This book is a magnum opus exploring American history and the intellectual history of the ideas which shaped that history. Mr. Ferrara explodes many of the politically correct myths about our history and is not afraid to tell it like it is: the good, the bad and the ugly. The book can serve many purposes. Ferrara's conversational style makes the book very readable for...
Published on June 14, 2012 by Brian Mccall

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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Points Poorly Made
Liberty: The God That Failed is an imposing tome, clocking in at over 600 pages of small-print, heavily footnoted text. Christopher Ferrara had a great deal to say, and spared no effort in saying it - although he promises to find material for a sequel! Unfortunately, because of its density, it took me quite a number of months to read my review copy all the way through...
Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer


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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book that makes sense of American history, June 14, 2012
This review is from: Liberty, the God That Failed: Policing the Sacred and Constructing the Myths of the Secular State, from Locke to Obama (Paperback)
This book is a magnum opus exploring American history and the intellectual history of the ideas which shaped that history. Mr. Ferrara explodes many of the politically correct myths about our history and is not afraid to tell it like it is: the good, the bad and the ugly. The book can serve many purposes. Ferrara's conversational style makes the book very readable for a wide variety of audiences from high school American history students to academics. It is an excellent introduction to American history from its origins in English history through Reconstruction after the Civil War. Unlike typical histories which have been censored by the reigning politically correct zeitgeist, this book contains documented facts you will not find collected in any other volume. Beyond political and cultural history, this book is a masterwork of intellectual history. Ferrara explains the deep impact the ideas of the moderate Enlightenment, headed up by Locke and Montesquieu, had on the development of America's dominant intellectual paradigm. Far from promiting freedom of religion as is commonly believed, this paradigm created one of the most powerful state controlled religions in history, the Religion of the god Liberty. Complete with a set of dogmas, priestly cast, high holy days and rituals, this religion of Liberty has demanded the sacrifice of countless innocent lives to feed the hunger of the god Liberty. If you want to live in a deluded bubble believing only the fairy tale version of our history and then wonder dumbfoundedly how things have gotten so bad don't read this book. it will shatter your illusion!
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Monumental Achievement, July 16, 2012
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This review is from: Liberty, the God That Failed: Policing the Sacred and Constructing the Myths of the Secular State, from Locke to Obama (Paperback)
I've long considered Christopher Ferrara one of the best Catholic thinkers writing today, but with Liberty: The God That Failed, he enters a class all his own.

This is a monumental achievement. With frankly polemical intent but judicious fairness, Ferrara brings together history, philosophy and theology to demonstrate that the so-called "Spirit of `76" -- Liberty -- was born in the Protestant Revolution, bred in the Enlightenment, and given its ultimate political expression in our (Lockean) Declaration of Independence and our ( literally) "godless Constitution." The American Revolution, far from being a "conservative" expression of the "moderate" Enlightenment, as many modern conservatives would have it, in fact represented a radical rejection of all religious influence over government, and directly inspired the even bloodier French Revolution (not to mention, in surprising ways, the Civil War). The ironic end result is an atheistic (in all but name) super-state that purports to represent the "will of the people" but which in fact recognizes no authority above its own -- in stark contrast with the supposed Catholic "tyrannies" of pre-Reformation Christendom, which explicitly recognized Christian principles as limits to and guides for their authority. The situation that both Catholic and Protestants find themselves in today -- powerless before the whims of Supreme Court justices and giant bureaucracies like the HHS -- is no accident; it is in our nation's very DNA.

This is a long book, but necessarily so: in order to debunk the many "golden legends" about the true nature and history of Liberty - that our Founders were in any way Christian, for instance -- Ferrara must adduce, and answer, the views of many who would disagree with him. But he does so with panache and great clarity, and there are fresh revelations on literally every page. One of his great strengths is his frequent invocation of authorities of contrary views to buttress his arguments -- e.g., Pulitzer Prize-winner Gordon Wood's The Radicalism of the American Revolution, the contents of which support Ferrara's contentions even though its author approves of the radicalism he documents.

Even more impressive is Ferrara's frequent delving into primary sources to find all-but-forgotten facts of history. After the Civil War, for example, there emerged in the North something called the National Reform Association (NRA) -- a national movement of evangelical Protestant ministers, theologians, academics, lawyers and jurists, mostly Presbyterian, that posed the question of whether an explicit constitutional recognition of Christ might have averted the national catastrophe, and which proposed a constitutional amendment to remedy the defect. Imagine if the Constitution's Preamble read as follows, in correspondence with the NRA's petition: "We the People of the United States, [humbly acknowledging Almighty God as the source of all authority and power in civil government, the Lord Jesus Christ as the Ruler among the nations, his revealed will as the supreme law of the land, in order to constitute a Christian government,] and in order to form a more perfect union ...." "Remarkably," observes Ferrara, "the NRA's `Christian amendment,' ... contained in a nutshell the same theologico-political doctrine with which we began this entire study: what the Catholic Church calls the `Social Kingship' of Christ, the great Christian corollary of Greek wisdom concerning the State as a moral totality oriented to the eternal destiny of man as an ensouled being. For if Christ is God, then the Gospel logically must undergird the laws and institutions of political society, as it is irrational to hold that only individuals but not societies are subject to divine authority. Now, in the aftermath of the Civil War, a group of conservative Protestants -- most of whom, ironically, were more or less afflicted by America's endemic anti-Catholic bigotry -- was calling for the recovery of that quintessential Catholic doctrine, the very thing Locke regarded as "destructive of society" in his call for the non-toleration of Catholics in England."

Is there hope for the future? Yes, answers Ferrara, but it doesn't lie in discovering in our country's founding documents some mythical "original meaning" that will prove to be something other than anti-Christian in general and anti-Catholic in particular. Nor does it require an unattainable restoration of a Christian monarchy, as some of Ferrara's critics contend. Democracies, Ferrara observes, no less than any other type of political arrangement, can observe the Social Kingship of Christ if they so choose.

And choose they must. "The burden of this study," writes Ferrara, "has been to demonstrate that if our civilization is to survive, the idol [of Liberty] must fall in the name of true freedom: the freedom that arises with the social incarnation of the reality, heralded by the intuitions of Greek wisdom, that we are the children of a loving God who bestows upon his rational creatures both temporal blessings and eternal happiness if only men and societies will worship him `in spirit and in truth,' heeding the counsels of the Church he established with a mission to make disciples of all nations."
For that to happen, however, things may have to get worse before they get better.

-- Jeffrey Rubin is a former editor of the Conservative Book Club
and, before that, of The Latin Mass magazine. He is currently
Creative Director of AMDG Communications, LLC.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking in its breadth and insight., August 28, 2012
By 
JanSobieski (United States of America) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Liberty, the God That Failed: Policing the Sacred and Constructing the Myths of the Secular State, from Locke to Obama (Paperback)
"Liberty the God That Failed" is quite simply one of the most influential books I've read since "The Conservative Mind" which I read over 35 years ago. The breadth and depth of the research and the author's ability to assimilate and synthesize so much information is astounding. Of the author's three works I've read, this is his best, his magnum opus.

I've always been of a conservative bent but have found the formulaic answers provided by the tea party and establishment conservatives largely disappointing and incomplete. The authors that have helped shape my world view include Richard Weaver, Russell Kirk, Hilaire Belloc, R.L. Dabney, Dostoevsky, Walter Scott and Eric von Kuehnelt-Leddihn to name but a few. I am, at heart, a reactionary yearning for time honored answers, approaches and sensibilities.

This modern world in which we live actively conspires to defeat an apprehension of the root causes of our civilizational decline. The intellectual tools we've been afforded are woefully inadequate to the task of analysis. Our intellectual machinery has been fouled by our educations, the popular culture and the media. This book serves as a powerful antidote to the prevailing zeitgeist. For those of us who do not have the time, commitment or, frankly, the gifts this author possesses, Ferrara's book can do that which only a few authors manage. His book will provide you with insights and perspectives that will enable you to see beyond the Matrix.

Ferrara's book is refreshing and contrarian and provides an emancipating perspective you are not likely to find elsewhere. However, bear this in mind: Ferrara pays obeisance to certain prevailing orthodoxies with which I disagree. I would have much preferred a more reactionary, bolder, flinty eyed approach eschewing politically correct deceptions. Though Ferrara categorically rejects the novelties of the post-Vatican Catholic Church he himself falls prey to the certain universalist egalitarian temptations unleashed by the Vatican maelstrom. One must not surrender to any author, and, despite Ferrara's erudition, he is no exception.

I heartily and enthusiastically recommend this book.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a book that shows the true nature American Liberalism, July 7, 2012
This review is from: Liberty, the God That Failed: Policing the Sacred and Constructing the Myths of the Secular State, from Locke to Obama (Paperback)
Christopher Ferrera's "Liberty the God That Failed" is a very timely work. Finally there is an accessible work written by a Catholic that counteracts the standard Whig narrative which dominates even amongst so called "traditional Catholics." In this book Ferrera methodically refutes all the usual "conservative" arguments. So much of modern conservative "thought" boils down to such inane ideas as "lets get back to the Constitution." What this book documents and shows is that American political thought has always been radical and hostile to traditional Christendom. Only when Catholics begin to realize this fact can we make any possible headway. Overall I highly recommend this book to all Catholics interested in resisting and challenging this Americanist Culture of Death.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forceful and persuasive, June 18, 2012
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This review is from: Liberty, the God That Failed: Policing the Sacred and Constructing the Myths of the Secular State, from Locke to Obama (Paperback)
I am reading the book and it is a brilliant analysis of American history and politics, extremely well reasoned. Funny how any serious book on religion and politics brings the fanatical anti-religious bigots out of their caves. The prospective reader would do well to ignore the rantings of the "reviewer" who gave this one star: from any objective view, his is the "very childish effort". Ferrara's book deserves a serious reading and engagement, as it articulates a perspective on American history seldom found in public discourse.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Tour de Force, July 23, 2012
This review is from: Liberty, the God That Failed: Policing the Sacred and Constructing the Myths of the Secular State, from Locke to Obama (Paperback)
Christopher Ferrara has once again produced a work of intellectual history (yet so much more) that is nothing short of brilliant. Scholarly, erudite, but easily accessible to the non-specialist, this is a book that goes way beyond being merely "thought-provoking." It is polemical in the very best -- and most accurate -- sense of the word. Regardless of one's political or ideological or philosophical or theological (or any other "-ical") leanings, this is a book that demands to be read, studied, and discussed, especially by lawyers and educators. I cannot recommend it too highly -- truly, a "must read!"
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exposes Classical Liberalism as the root ideological cause for Modern Liberalism and American Decline, March 27, 2013
By 
Eric M. Brown (Washington, D.C.) - See all my reviews
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The truth of Christopher Ferrara's contention against classical liberalism is proven by the increasing number of conservatives, i.e. classical liberals, who reject the natural institution of marriage and the preservation of such hetorosexual institution by the federal governement. They do this in the name of their radical individualism or "federalism/states rights", as if a state had authority over the divine constitution of marriage. The following quote was truly predictive of the effects of classical liberalism and its result in modern liberalism as even seen in today's Supreme Court deliberations over what our dear elite rulers in the oligarchy will call "marriage" in the future.

"And, since where religion has been removed from civil society, and the doctrine and authority of divine revelation repudiated, the genuine notion itself of justice and human right is darkened and lost, and the place of true justice and legitimate right is supplied by material force, ... and that in the political order accomplished facts, from the very circumstance that they are accomplished, have the force of right. But who, does not see and clearly perceive that human society, when set loose from the bonds of religion and true justice, can have, in truth, no other end than the purpose of obtaining and amassing wealth, and that (society under such circumstances) follows no other law in its actions, except the unchastened desire of ministering to its own pleasure and interests?" (Pope Pius IX, Quanta Cura, December 8, 1864.)

Is this quote not perfectly represented in American materialistic liberal/social democracy and its culture. The wealthy Republican donor elite such as Sheldon Adelson and Foster Friess are socially liberal pro-homosexual vice Sodom and Gommorah Republicans and they exemplify this quote from Pope Pius IX perfectly. Thank God I did not vote for their candidate Mitt Romney and I will never vote for their socially liberal candidates for political office.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very thoughtful book, October 30, 2012
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This review is from: Liberty, the God That Failed: Policing the Sacred and Constructing the Myths of the Secular State, from Locke to Obama (Paperback)
For those who have not noticed, our culture (and nation) is falling.

For those who have not noticed, other Western nations are in much the same decline.

For those who have not noticed, democracies have never lasted very long in historical terms.

For those who have not noticed, great nations ALWAYS fall: it is not a mater of if, but when...

"Liberty" is regarded as an unambiguous good to us: but maybe the specific take on liberty adopted by this country is unworkable in the final analysis. This book is a thoughtful examination of issues such as this. It is counter cultural to be sure! But, since our culture is not doing so great (e.g., unsustainable levels of debt), maybe that's not so bad?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bold (and I like it!), May 15, 2013
By 
Mark Duch (Texarkana, AR) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Liberty, the God That Failed: Policing the Sacred and Constructing the Myths of the Secular State, from Locke to Obama (Paperback)
This book represents an absolutely-devastating critique of post-Enlightenment principles and American propaganda from an un-apologetically Catholic perspective. Everything from the appropriateness of revolution, to the nature of civil authority and the relationship between Church and State, to the cause of modern warfare is tackled in this extremely compelling book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars D. P. Lane, March 20, 2013
By 
Aquinate (New York, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Liberty, the God That Failed: Policing the Sacred and Constructing the Myths of the Secular State, from Locke to Obama (Paperback)
This is a book long, long overdue. Mr. Ferrara is a master of polemical writing and clear thinking; in Liberty, the God That Failed he has written a breathtaking tour de force, consigning the fusty myths of the "conservative" American Revolution and its hallowed Founders to the dustbin of cant and obfuscation. From the headwaters of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, Mr. Ferrara in an engaging style and with crystal clarity traces the first principles of Liberal thought through the Enlightenment thinkers of the Thirteen Colonies, the American Revolution, and beyond. Buy this book, read it, and assume a normal posture as the weight of two hundred years of humbug flies away into the inane of Cloud Cuckoo Land.
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Liberty, the God That Failed: Policing the Sacred and Constructing the Myths of the Secular State, from Locke to Obama
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