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Book Review: Rediscovering God in America

December 25, 2009

This post is part of Thomas Nelson’s BRB program (Book Review Bloggers, not Be Right Back). Have a blog? Like free books? Check this out.

I don’t think Rediscovering God in America, by Newt Gingrich, was listed as a “Gift Book,” but it probably should be. For someone interested in U.S. history (guilty) and faith (again), it would make a nice gift. It’s one to casually sift through and adorn a shelf with. Every page is full-color and semi-glossy, and each chapter – on a different historical structure in Washington D.C. – is marked with color photos.

(Callista Gingrich is notably credited for her photography, but I found little that was noteworthy about the photos. They certainly depicted the monuments and buildings being discussed, but in a rather square, straight-angle, full-frame sort of way.)

As a piece of historical non-fiction or current events text, Rediscovering God is weak. The introduction and conclusion are both inspiring and interesting, but chapter-to-chapter the text becomes routine and boring.

Rediscovering God in America takes the reader through a walking tour of 13 memorials, sites, and buildings in our nations capital with the purpose of pointing out and explaining the religious and/or spiritual pieces of each one – a scripture engraved on a wall here, a depiction of Moses there, a reference to our collective faith in the Christian God, etc. The book achieves that end, but leaves the reader wondering why.

The introduction and conclusion – where Gingrich actually shares ideas instead of just facts – tie each section of the “tour” together, and make some surface-level comments about the importance of faith in the governing and collective life of the U.S. I would have liked more, though. Gingrich does a great job of illustrating the foundation of our nation, and illuminating the secular threats against that foundation, but then he leaves you there. He points out the ominous implications, but offers few tangible solutions and makes no call to action.

A lovely reference, perhaps, but not a book I can think of recommending for any particular purpose or interest.

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