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Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis Hardcover – Deckle Edge, November 1, 2005
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"Wake Up America" by Eric Bolling
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More a set of loosely connected essays than a single, precise argument, Our Endangered Values outlines Carter's worldview while pondering what he posits are key problems looming in the 21st century. Thematic touchstones such as the war, environmental negligence, civil liberties, the rich-poor divide, and the separation of church and state form the book's backbone, with Carter filtering each through the prism of his own vast experience. He doesn't much like what he sees. Though much of the data Carter presents to support his arguments is familiar, it's worth repeating that "the rate of firearm homicides in the United States is nineteen times higher than that of 35 other high-income countries combined." That "In addition to imprisonment, the United States of America stands almost alone in the world in our fascination with the death penalty, and our few remaining companions are regimes with a lack of respect for basic human rights." That when it comes to sharing the wealth with poor nations "Americans are the stingiest of all industrialized nations. We allow about one-thirtieth as much as is commonly believed [or] sixteen cents out of each $100 of the gross national income." America: land of the free, home of the brave? Try global bully with a bad attitude and reckless sense of entitlement.
Carter spends significant time contextualizing his own spirituality, as if to underscore the urgency of his message that fundamentalism in any form is bad, especially when it encroaches on government. Indeed, Carter persuasively links fundamentalism to harmful policy, the subjugation of women, general xenophobia, and a host of other ills occurring all around him. And while George W. Bush in particular and the current administration in general take fewer clips on the chin than might be expected, Carter's arguments for common-sense change are deeply resonant nonetheless. --Kim Hughes
From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
In "Our Endangered Values", Carter describes a set of American values: equality, liberty, justice for all, individual empowerment, inclusion, generosity, forgiveness, and leadership by example. This is framed by a narrative which is personal and focused on people finding common ground on which to build a better tomorrow.
These values are then contrasted against what is described as a general trend toward fundamentalism. The fundamentalism Carter argues against is not the adherance to a literal interpretation of secular texts, but the practice of intolerance regarding people of differing beliefs.
Intolerance, he argues, becomes particularly dangerous where people choose to recognize their leaders and institutions as masters rather than servants. Such leaders and their institutions tend to combine their beliefs and intolerance into agendas which exclude, dehumanize and punish.
From there, it is just a hop, a skip, and a jump to a laundry list of ways in which the actions of recent administrations and highly visible religious leaders are tipping the balance toward fundamentalism and endangering the values he holds dear.
In summary, it is well worth reading, and is relatively light reading at that. Some reviewers have come down fairly harshly on the book for religious and/or political grounds. I think they miss the point. Carter isn't mandating that you subscribe to his beliefs. He is asking you to look for common ground and tolerate the differences.
For a Christian who is as faithful and devout as Carter to denounce people like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson (two men who do not, by the way, build houses for the homeless or visit devastated regions of the world) for controlling and brainwashing millions of Americans is a very big deal. We need to be paying attention.
For Carter, whose faith is basically the reason he gets out of bed every morning, to say that we are skirting a dangerously slippery slope when it comes to the separation of church and state is a BIG DEAL. We NEED to be paying attention.
Don't be afraid of this book if you're not a Christian, and don't be afraid of it if you are. Carter carefully separates his faith from yours, and maintains that faith and religion is a private and personal choice, and he NEVER proselytizes or gets preachy. What he does do, though, is make very clear that the Christian right is not right, nor do they speak for all devout Christians in this country. He simply wants to see us get on the right track again. A wonderful book.
In general, I think it is well-written and much more readable than some of his earlier books. The problem is stated, the gauntlet thrown down. Maybe it is for the next generation to take up the challenge.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I will be the first American to say Jimmy Carter could not hold his own as our president. He simply cared too much, didn't know "the game" and how to play it. Read morePublished 5 months ago by J. V. Hennburg
Whether you agree with all of his views or not, this is a good, thought-provoking read and would make a good discussion piece for a family who wants to explore critical thinking... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Ava Collopy Books
Jimmy Carter has written many books since his time in office. His blend of foreign policy ideas, views of national politics, national security and his personal faith background... Read morePublished 8 months ago by C P Slayton
President Cater helps us recognize our strengths as a nation. He also helps us, and challenges, us to live up to our moral responsibilities as a nation.Published 10 months ago by M. Sezzi
Jimmy Carter may not have been the best president - events conspired against him - but he IS a great American.
He lives and breathes his faith and patriotism. Read more
Excellent easy read a must for folks who want to get the basics of most of the political, economic and especially "religious" issues that divide our country. Read morePublished 11 months ago by caseyat bat
I rarely give one star reviews, and never have to a former President, but absolutely hated this book. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Tommy