God and Ronald Reagan: A Spiritual Life (Paperback)

God and Ronald Reagan: A Spiritual Life By Paul Kengor Cover Image
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Ronald Reagan is hailed today for a presidency that restored optimism to America, engendered years of economic prosperity, and helped bring about the fall of the Soviet Union. Yet until now little attention has been paid to the role Reagan's personal spirituality played in his political career, shaping his ideas, bolstering his resolve, and ultimately compelling him to confront the brutal -- and, not coincidentally, atheistic -- Soviet empire.

In this groundbreaking book, political historian Paul Kengor draws upon Reagan's legacy of speeches and correspondence, and the memories of those who knew him well, to reveal a man whose Christian faith remained deep and consistent throughout his more than six decades in public life. Raised in the Disciples of Christ Church by a devout mother with a passionate missionary streak, Reagan embraced the church after reading a Christian novel at the age of eleven. A devoted Sunday-school teacher, he absorbed the church's model of "practical Christianity" and strived to achieve it in every stage of his life.

But it was in his lifelong battle against communism -- first in Hollywood, then on the political stage -- that Reagan's Christian beliefs had their most profound effect. Appalled by the religious repression and state-mandated atheism of Bolshevik Marxism, Reagan felt called by a sense of personal mission to confront the USSR. Inspired by influences as diverse as C.S. Lewis, Whittaker Chambers, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, he waged an openly spiritual campaign against communism, insisting that religious freedom was the bedrock of personal liberty. "The source of our strength in the quest for human freedom is not material, but spiritual," he said in his Evil Empire address. "And because it knows no limitation, it must terrify and ultimately triumph over those who would enslave their fellow man."

From a church classroom in 1920s Dixon, Illinois, to his triumphant mission to Moscow in 1988, Ronald Reagan was both political leader and spiritual crusader. God and Ronald Reagan deepens immeasurably our understanding of how these twin missions shaped his presidency -- and changed the world.

About the Author

Paul Kengor is the author of the New York Times extended-list bestseller God and Ronald Reagan as well as God and George W. Bush and The Crusader. He is a professor of political science and director of the Center for Vision and Values at Grove City College. He lives with his wife and children in Grove City, Pennsylvania.

Praise For…

“A profound character study, an engrossing work of history...a heartbreakingly beautiful love story about one man and his Maker.” — —Peter Robinson, Reagan speechwriter and author of How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life

“Paul Kengor now reveals the inner heart and soul of this great man.” — —Judge William P. Clark, National Security Advisor, Reagan Administration

“Paul Kengor takes the reader to depths where no other writer has yet been—Ronald Reagan’s very soul. ” — —Peter Schweizer, author of Reagan's War

“God and Ronald Reagan fundamentally transforms the historical view of Ronald Reagan and his place in the 20th century.” — —Donald M. Goldstein, co-author of At Dawn We Slept

“Paul Kengor has performed a masterful service by shining a light on this underappreciated but central aspect of Reagan’s life.” — —Steven F. Hayward, author of The Age of Reagan

“[A] superb book—no interpretation of Ronald Reagan will be complete without reference to this vital work.” — —Stephen Knott, Ronald Reagan Oral History Project, University of Virginia

“In this meticulously researched and insightful book, Paul Kengor finds the ultimate source of Ronald Reagan’s resolve against communism.” — —Andrew E. Busch, author of Ronald Reagan and the Politics of Freedom

“God and Ronald Reagan deepens our understanding of Reagan’s life and the times in which he governed.” — —Matthew Dallek, author of The Right Moment: Ronald Reagan's First Victory and the Decisive Turning Point in American Politics

“Illuminates the role of faith in the life and worldview of one of the 20th century’s most important figures.” — —Rich Lowry, editor-in-chief, National Review

“Illuminates the role of faith in the life and worldview of one of the 20th century’s most important figures.” — —Lee Edwards, Distinguished Fellow, Heritage Foundation, and author of Ronald Reagan: A Political Biography

“Paul Kengor has written an excellent book which explores a previously neglected aspect of Reagan’s life—his religious faith.” — —Edwin Meese III, Reagan administration Attorney General

“In the vast body of Reagan scholarship, what’s been missing is a spiritual biography. Kengor has admirably supplied our need.” — —Robert P. George, Princeton University

“A penetrating history of the President’s evolving religious faith and its articulation in different settings during his career.” — —Kenneth W. Thompson, University of Virginia

“Paul Kengor offers not only a thorough history of Reagan’s religious development but a good and sardonic eye for detail.” — —Marvin Olasky, professor, University of Texas at Austin and editor-in-chief of World magazine

“Paul Kengor’s book offers a deeper understanding than can be found in any of the conventional academic literature.” — —Hugh Heclo, Robinson Professor of Public Affairs, George Mason University

“For anyone who believes Christianity and politics don’t mix needs to read this work on an American president.” — —David A. Noebel, Summit Ministries

“God and Ronald Reagan makes an important contribution to our understanding of the last major president of the 20th century.” — —Ryan J. Barilleaux, Miami University of Ohio

“The conservative Christian who rarely went to church. That is the conundrum most pundits used to refer to Ronald Reagan when discussing his reltionship to religion. God and Ronald Reagan helps us finally come to grips wiht the man and the presidency taht was Ronald Reagan. From childhood to the Cold War, Paul Kengor has unearthed the Ropnald Reagan most of knew was there but which few of us had the chance to see. Enjoyable and enlightening.” — —Gary L. Gregg, Ph.D., Mitch McConnell Chair in Leadership, director, McConnell Center for Political Leadership, University of Louisville

“Paul Kengor has addressed a critical issue in today’s study of the American Presidency: how religious background influences presidential decisions. This is a book particularly important to presidential scholars who are assessing President George W. Bush and how he too has interwoven his political and religious beliefs in presidential decisions.” — —Shirley Anne Warshaw, Professor, Department of political science, Gettysburg College

Product Details
ISBN: 9780060571429
ISBN-10: 006057142X
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: January 18th, 2005
Pages: 432
Language: English