1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Fluffy and slightly left-biased with some redeeming qualities,
This review is from: The American Creed: A Biography of the Declaration of Independence (Paperback)
I picked up the The American Creed in the bargain bin at Barnes and Noble. It appeared to be a patriot pro-faith book, so I thought I'd give it a shot. I enjoyed the book, as it laid out the message of the Declaration of Independence and the importance of faith in our culture. Forrest Church is a gifted writer. His style and prose is elegant and poetic. He started with our nation's founding and then began jumping through history with an underlying theme that our country and experiment in democracy has not been perfect, but that great leaders have drawn from the strength of our "American Creed" to continue to push forward democracy. However, the book fell short in a few areas and left me a little disappointed.
My biggest problem with it were his choices of the events where the american creed was used. He tended to focus mostly on Democrat presidents and their speeches, but not the actual consequences of their policies. He spent an entire chapter on FDR and JFK each analyzing their most famous speaches (the Four Freedoms and the Ask not what your country can do for you, respectively.) Presidential speeches are hollow, meaningless, and often inconsequential. But after reading these chapters, I thought, okay, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, because surely, I'm about to read about Reagan and his tireless lifelong war against communism. But then I got to the one paragraph on Ronald Reagan and here is what is said.
"However one may view his policies, President Ronald Reagan owed much of his electoral success and his persuasiveness as a leader to the eloquence with which he reclaimed American symbols such as the flag. The country remained divided. For those to whom the American dream was a nightmare and the American Creed itself therefore abrogated, the president's flag waving was nothing more than camouflage for a bankrupt national ethicc."
That's when his bias really became exposed. You can't write a book that discusses individual liberty and faith have full chapters on FDR and JFK speeches and nothing on Ronald Reagan.
I enjoy reading about America's flaws and strengths and know that the history of the the struggles in this country has many dimensions and angles. This book had promise but could have been much better. It was more like a fluffy poetic essay than a rich historical book. For a better book with a similar theme, I'd recommend "10 Days that Unexpectedly Changed America".