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Losing Moses on the Freeway: The 10 Commandments in America

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Losing Moses on the Freeway: The 10 Commandments in America [Paperback]

Chris Hedges
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Why should all Americans –not just Christians and Jews -- care about the Ten Commandments? Chris Hedges, a former foreign correspondent for the New York Times and Harvard Divinity School graduate, believes that the commandments keep us from committing evil. They hold our communities together. "They lead us to love, the essence of life," he writes.

Adapted from his series of articles for the New York Times comes these thoughtful essays on why we need these ancient laws -- and what happens when we abandon them. A Phish band groupie provides a springboard for a discussion of idolatry. A Long Island whiskey bar becomes a laboratory for understanding "You shall not bear false witness." Honoring the Sabbath, he shows through the observances of one busy family, may be the antidote to popular culture. The story of the havoc wreaked on one child’s life vividly illustrates the reason for the commandment, "You shall not commit adultery." Throughout his essays, he deftly weaves his own experiences into the narrative, as well as references from Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s classic book on good and evil, The Brothers Karamazov.

Hedges believes that the commandments hold out to us the possibility of love -- and love means living for others. The commandments are guideposts that bring us back to the right path, he writes. They call us to sacrifice. Compellingly, he urges us to abandon the culture of self; to live "not by exalting our life but by being willing to lose it." --Cindy Crosby --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Hedges, a correspondent at the New York Times, first made a name in the book world with his remarkable study War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. Now Hedges, the son of a Presbyterian minister, brings together ruminations on the 10 Commandments. Inspired by Krzysztof Kieslowski's The Decalogue (a series of 10 films, each based on one of the commandments) each of these pieces profiles someone who has "struggled on a deep and visceral level with one of the commandments." Some of the chapters—like Hedges's meditation on how consumerism becomes a way of taking the Lord's name in vain—are quite profound. And some of the connections he makes are refreshingly creative; his chapter on idolatry, for example, tells the story of a young woman who makes an idol out of the rock band Phish. But sometimes, he's banal ("Time is short. Life is brief"), and sometimes Hedges's very creativity drains his profiles of impact. The chapter on greed, for example, portrays a woman named Karen Adey, who dreams about becoming a multimillionaire and has hemorrhaged thousands of dollars attending self-help seminars in an effort to make her dream come true. This chapter could have resonated more if he had written about someone whose covetousness was just as pervasive, but a little more run-of-the-mill, like the college kid who goes into credit card debt buying clothes and CDs he doesn't need. Although this exploration of the 10 Commandments is uneven, much of it is provocative. (June 7)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

While the title might lead the reader to assume this book has a narrow religious focus, Hedges, a former divinity student, reporter, and war correspondent, brings a broad and secular perspective to a deep examination of the principles of the Ten Commandments. Some core variations of the commandments are widely adapted by most all societies and religions with adherence leading to prosperity, and violation leading to failure. Hedges relates many of his own life experiences to themes associated with the commandments, including service to a poor area of Boston that he began to recognize as essentially self-idolatry. He turns the same sharp eye toward a variety of human experiences touching on elements of the commandments--the family, adultery, theft, envy, greed, and love--in ways that are uncommon and insightful. He asserts that love, reflected in sacrifice, reaffirms life and brings us closer to the mystery, majesty, and power of God. The commandments bind us together and provide guideposts against excessive human temptations. A deeply moving book. Vernon Ford
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"At a time when the mere mention of religion can excite so much passion . . . and discord, Losing Moses on the Freeway offers sane and bracing ways to think about, and rethink, the whole subject of faith." -- O, The Oprah Magazine

"Unfailingly well-written, compelling, and disturbing. . . . It's not an easy faith that Hedges describes, and that is the point." -- The American Prospect

"Hedges' main point is that America is a nation marked by self-satisfaction, false piety, hypocrisy, and covetousness and that its institutions and culture aid and abet these very real failings. . . . If you're fed up with the sorry state of things in America today and aren't sure why, Hedges lays it out for you here." -- Baltimore Sun

About the Author

Chris Hedges was a foreign correspondent for nearly two decades for The New
York Times
, The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science
and National Public Radio. He was a member of the team that won the
2002 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for The New York Times
coverage of global terrorism, and he received the 2002 Amnesty International
Global Award for Human Rights Journalism. Hedges is the author of the bestseller
American Fascists and National Book Critics Circle finalist for War Is
a Force That Gives Us Meaning
. He is a Senior Fellow at The Nation Institute
and a Lannan Literary Fellow and has taught at Columbia University, New York
University and Princeton University.
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