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One Nation Under God: The History of Prayer in America Hardcover – November 1, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The simple contention of this fascinating study is that prayer has always been intertwined with America's cultural life. Moore, who teaches at McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, casts a broad net, beginning with Native American prayers before European colonization and culminating with the prayers of Americans after 9/11. He attends not only to prayers said around tables and in houses of worship but also to the way that the arts contribute to prayer: in the 19th century, artists like Thomas Cole penned prayers in art journals, and 20th-century Jewish composer Leonard Bernstein wrote a symphony that meditated on the Jewish kaddish. Indeed, Moore has really written a history of religion in America told through the lens of prayer; for example, his discussion of Shaker prayer is embedded in a discussion of Shakers' place in America's 19th-century religious landscape. Moore also addresses American policy about prayer, charting Supreme Court decisions about prayer in school. There are moments when the author, who has also written a biography of President Ford, allows his own political and cultural predilections to show through; his enthusiasm for President Bush can be distracting. However, this is a minor flaw in an otherwise terrifically engaging book. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal

U.S. assistant secretary of commerce for trade under Reagan, Moore tells the story of this country through the prayers offered by its populace over the centuries.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Religion; First Edition edition (November 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385504039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385504034
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,183,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Peter B. Allen on November 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I love the scope and comprehensiveness of this book on prayer in America. Starting with the prayer life of Native Americans, and the early Spanish settlers then moving through the colonial period, to the Civil War and all the way to the present day the author traces US history through the lens of prayer. It is a fascinating study that makes you appreciate the richness and variety of how ALL Americans have prayed. The story is told from a historical point of view and not from a religious or political point of view. Some of the prayers I have begun to make my own. Throughout the book the author has shown how well known artists, musicians, writers, businessmen, public figures, religious leaders, and average Americans have prayed. I highly recommend this book.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jason Murphy on November 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
One Nation Under God will indispensible to any minister, rabbi, priest, or other clergy. After hearing the author on NPR, I ordered the book out of curiosity. When it arrived, I could barely put it down. I love the fact it is a combination reference source and history of prayer in our country. This will be on my front bookshelf for a long time to come.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Meman on November 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
James Moore's book is about as inspiring and as powerfully written as any recent book I have read. By talking about the prayer life of the country over the generations, he builds an incredible spiritual mosaic.He eloquently shows how prayer is a part of America's DNA and then goes about proving it so persuasively. To look at his index and find John Coltrane, Christopher Columbus, all the presidents of the United States, Mother Elizabeth Seton, Walt Disney, and Tupac Shakur together in the same book is quite a feat, but after you read the One Nation Under God you understand why. He is seamless in showing how prayer follows each American generation in various ways. This is a book that people will be reading after all of us are long gone. This book is more then just a christmas present, it will evolve into a lasting way of life for all my loved ones. three cheers for Mr. Moore and his brilliant insights for such an important topic. The USA has much to be proud of, in James P. Moore, Jr.

Jesse Meman
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Juan Rial on November 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Honestly, I have not read a nonfiction book in some time, but on a hunch I picked up One Nation Under God at the bookstore and quickly found that I was riveted by every page. By the time I was through I felt as though I had taken an incredible spiritual journey. This book really is awesome from beginning to end. From discussing famous sports heroes, entertainers, and even our presidents to unknown immigrants and farmers who made this country what it is today, James Moore has uniquely blended spirituality and patriotism together. I passed the book on to my wife and now she is reading it feverishly. Just this morning after we came back from church she picked it up, and I ended up making my own lunch. It almost has become a life changing experience for both of us. Someday I hope to shake the hand of James P. Moore, Jr. He has done our country a great service, and I intend to pass the book on to others.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Kingston on November 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As a clergyman I confront people on a spiritual level continuously. I listen to them, try to comprehend their problems, and then give them comfort and counsel along the way. One Nation Under God has given me a perspective on spirituality that I did not even learn in seminary. Bringing together the story of America and prayer over time has brought new revelations to me. I was able to think of the famous and not so famous Americans and the challenegs they confronted in their lives. It has given me new insights into my own ministry. Every minister, priest, rabbi, and imam should have a ready copy of this book on his or her shelf. I would love to see One Nation Under God be required reading in our schools. The author James Moore is to be commended on delivering a powerful testament to the deep spirituality of our people. I already have ordered several copies of the book for several of my fellow clergy.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Charles Carson on November 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I am a lawyer who faces a number of challenges every day. While I loved the book's probing of other prominent lawyers through history (and so many others)and our legal system when it comes to prayer, I gained a great deal from One nation Under God personally. Sometimes I reach the end of my rope, wondering where to turn. This book has reminded me how other Americans have drawn on prayer to cope with their personal lives and how the country as a whole has turned to prayer at every turn. No one should miss this book over the holidays. I cannot recommend it more highly.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Chip Reid on November 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This story about prayer in America over our history blew my mind! Having Joseph Smith, Benjamin Franklin, Elvis, Babe Ruth, and Emily Dickinson in the same book like this is incredible. Moore is a super writer and kept my interst from the first page.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Rogers on November 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I just finished the last chapter to One Nation Under God and had to share my thoughts through this review. The book is nothing less than an eloquent, remarkable journey into the country's past, present, and future. I laughed, I cried, I was deeply moved as I turned each page. The American characters in this book come vividly alive through the extraordinary pen of James Moore. It was hard for me to beleive that a book of this kind has never been written. If anyone has any doubts about how our country has spiritually evolved, he or she needs only to buy this one volume. At times the book reads almost like a novel until you pinch yourself, realizing that this is America's true story. I highly recommend the book to everyone. This book will stay with me for a long time.
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