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The First Liberal: A Secular Look at Jesus' Socio-Political Ideas, and How They Became the Basis of Modern Liberalism Paperback – April 27, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 234 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (April 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595430538
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595430536
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,483,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dennis Martin Altman, a professor at the University of Kentucky, lives in the thick of America?s Bible Belt. In 1976, Altman worked as a media advisor for President Gerald Ford. After Nixon resigned, a Ford victory held hope for reshaping Republican ideals, and although Altman was a lifelong liberal, he grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Visit him online at www.thefirstliberal.com.Altman is a tenured professor at the University of Kentucky, where he teaches Integrated Strategic Communication and Ethics in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications. While living in America?s Bible belt, he?s been painfully aware of hard-working locals who habitually vote against their own best interests. This ?Red States? part of the country regularly elects conservative politicians who do their best to keep wages down and cut government appropriations for what the locals need most; more assistance in education and health care. (Kentuckians really are in bad shape ? the state is sometimes called the ?heart attack, stroke and lung cancer center of the USA.?) The author is no stranger to the political scene. During the election year of 1976, he was a media advisor to President Gerald R. Ford, and part of ?Campaign 76?, the committee to re-elect the President. Altman wrote and produced high-level campaign materials for the President that were noted for their effectiveness, yet free of the slurs and scares of recent political campaigns. He wasn?t a Republican, but after Richard Nixon?s disgrace and resignation, a Ford victory held hope for a chance to re-shape the Republican Party. Altman grabbed it with both hands.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
88%
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See all 8 customer reviews
A fascinating book.
Denise K.
Without the religious aspect, these ideas can be most easily appreciated, and can have the greatest appeal to a world-wide, often non-Christian, audience", he says.
L. Geyer
The book made me look at things in a whole new way.
Audrey H

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Wendell Abern on May 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
Personally, I don't think anyone should vote this year until they read this book. The information -- enlightening to both liberals and conservatives -- is too important to overlook. And, surprisingly, this fact-packed narrative is fun to read!

Altman has written this in a way that gives the reader the feeling that he/she is discovering something at the same time the author did. Quite a coup, really, and probably unintentional. In fact, as a writer, I think that if anyone who starts out trying to achieve such a result will fail.

Another coup -- and this one I believe was part of the reason he conceived the book -- was to give the word, "liberal," its rightful interpretation, connotations and nuances. For the past 40 or so years, "liberal" has been a dirty word in politics. And ironically, as Altman makes abundantly clear, the right-wingers and arch-conservatives most set against liberal policies are those who suffer the most by voting against them!

I happen to be one who rarely reads non-fiction. My favorite genre is the espionage novel or courtroom thriller. However, this is one book I could not put down. And it's certainly one that everyone should pick up.
The history is fascinating, the point of view convincing, and the insights eye-opening.

Wendell Abern
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Audrey H on May 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
The book made me look at things in a whole new way. How many books or movies can you say that about today? However, I wish it could have been a bit more spiritual than worldly, and shown a little more reverence for heavenly figures. Maybe it's just me, having endured 12 years of Catholic school, and having been named after a saint. But it certainly will get people talking. It was a surprise to see so many people that I never realized were liberals. I would love to see this book discussed on a show like Oprah. It could definitely "out" some people who consider themselves conservatives.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. Geyer on June 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
The author of `The First Liberal says, put "Love thy Neighbor" on the money.
The First Liberal starts with the intriguing sentence, "Jesus invented Liberalism on the day he said, `Love thy neighbor.'" The book traces how Jesus' teachings have come down to us not only in Biblical texts, but also as the ideals and standards of Liberal politics.
The book is not about religion; it's about politics. It discusses what Jesus said about forgiveness and turning the other cheek, and all that, without any reference to prayer or other religious observances.
It's a fascinating idea! This book is Jesus without religion, although it's certainly not anti-religious. It just leaves the question of religion to each individual. The author says that a "secular" approach to Christianity gives us a clearer view of its ideals.
"Detachment from reverence gives us the sharpest focus on Jesus' ideals, just as an astronomer's telescope does when it's positioned away from the glow of atmosphere. Without the religious aspect, these ideas can be most easily appreciated, and can have the greatest appeal to a world-wide, often non-Christian, audience", he says.
In God we Trust, or Love Thy Neighbor?
In a chapter called, "What Liberals want for America", Altman suggest that we put "Love Thy Neighbor" on U.S. currency. He notes that for years, some people have felt that the present slogan, "In God We Trust", is a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution. This is the amendment that guarantees our freedoms of speech, the press, and religion. Altman says that Thomas Jefferson and the other founding fathers were careful not endorse any religion, in order to insure that everyone could have free choice and none would feel left out.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Karyl Bennett on May 25, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The First Liberal gave me a new concept of and appreciation for the term Liberal. So many of the things I now take for granted and value were once new and exciting ideas ridiculed by the fearful of their day. This book gives an inkling of how the world could look if people actually practiced what they claim Jesus preached... If acceptance, compassion and forgiveness were taken seriously. After reading this, I refer to myself as a Liberal and do so with pride.
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