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The Faiths of the Postwar Presidents: From Truman to Obama (George H. Shriver Lecture Series in Religion in American History Ser.) Hardcover – April 25, 2012
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[Holmes] is politically and confessionally nonpartisan, which allows him to write impressively balanced accounts of such matters as Nixon’s betrayal of Billy Graham’s trust and Obama’s connection to Jeremiah Wright, who, on the evidence, was an excellent pastor who’d never been 'controversial' before the media started sound-biting his sermons. Only Kennedy emerges from Holmes’ presentation as less sympathetic than current opinion considers him. Another interesting take on the presidency.(Ray Olson Booklist)
Holmes, professor of religious studies at the College of William and Mary (The Faiths of the Founding Fathers) examines the backgrounds of our presidents since WWII by delving into their families, the people who influenced their religious beliefs, and their patterns of attending Sunday worship. . . . [I]t is well-researched reading for the reader who wants to know about the presidency.(Publishers Weekly)
This is an admirable and colorful yet balanced look at our recent Presidents and their religious beliefs. It will have wide appeal for all readers and particularly for those interested in presidential history.(Nancy Richey Library Journal)
Holmes provides us with a broad personal and historical narrative that brings into the conversation family, social, cultural, and political dynamics. What we learn about some figures might surprise us, especially those whose presidencies have faded into the recesses of our memories. . . . Holmes's book is a fascinating read. It's insightful, authoritative, and revealing of the spiritual dimensions of American political life.(Robert Cornwall Ponderings on a Faith Journey)
[Holmes] provides a lively, engaging, interesting appraisal of the influences upon and nature of the faith of the twelve men who have served as America's chief executive since the end of World War II. . . . His book is especially helpful in explaining the religious background and commitments of the grandparents, parents, and wives of these presidents. . . . Readers will profit from Holmes's judicious, balanced, insightful, and illuminating assessment of our most recent presidents. His book is timely in light of the current presidential campaign where once again religion has been a signficant factor.(Gary Scott Smith University Bookman)
A distinctive element of American politics is its unofficial yet vital link with religion. . . . Holmes shows the personal side of this dynamic by examining the faith lives and patterns of the 12 American presidents who served after WW II, from Truman to Obama. . . . It offers a number of illuminating insights into the private lives of these very public leaders.(M. A. Granquist Choice )
A distinguished and long-tenured professor at the College of William and Mary, Holmes has crafted an excellent narrative of post-World War II presidents and how religion or faith may have influenced their devotional, social, and political lives, as well as the nation's. . . . The Faith of the Postwar Presidents is easy, informative, interesting, and a balanced presentation of each president.(Worth E. Norman Jr. Living Church)
David Holmes . . . makes a meaningful contribution with this timely book, examining the role that religion played in the lives of America's most-recent presidents. . . . [He] devotes equal attention to the spiritual journeys of presidents that other authors have frequently overlooked. . . . Holmes has written a valuable reference for scholars working on a variety of topics relating to both religion and the presidency.(David O'Connell Political Science Quarterly)
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Top Customer Reviews
It's not fashionable in academia or what many might call "elite intellectual circles" today to talk about faith, except perhaps to denigrate it. Dr. Holmes, for a change, offers the more nuanced and accurate view, showing how faith can influence a leader for the best and, maybe, for the worst. Moreover, he proves the folly of reading too much into express declarations of faith and lack thereof at a time when so many who go into politics are pressed into openly sharing religion's role in their lives.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I thought I was fairly up-to-date on current events and personalities. I expected not to know as much about the earlier presidents. Read morePublished 18 months ago by long-time reader
The book is a wonderful compilation of history and insightful analysis. I read it quickly; the revelations were fascinating.Published 19 months ago by P.R. Pickwick
I approached the reading of David Holmes' "The Faiths of the Postwar Presidents, fromTruman to Obama," with a sense of intrigue as I wondered how he would tackle such a long, wide,... Read morePublished on February 17, 2014 by Charles M. Pope
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than to be both a successful and devout President of the United States - at least that is the thought that crossed my... Read morePublished on October 5, 2013 by James Arritt
David Holmes gives a readable and very interesting look into the private religious lives of the post war presidents. Read morePublished on September 25, 2013 by David J. Wallace
Finally, we have access to a delightfully readable, yet scholarly account of the religions of recent presidents. Read morePublished on July 29, 2013 by desmoinesgrandma
I saw this book at our local library on the new books shelf, checked it out immediately, and had trouble putting it down. Read morePublished on August 28, 2012 by Doug B.
By elucidating the religious beliefs of our nation's postwar presidents, David L. Holmes does far more than shed divine light on the Sunday churchgoing habits of the executive... Read morePublished on August 26, 2012 by onestarwatt