Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Review: America's Prophet

America’s Prophet
By Bruce Feiler
Published by Harper Perennial,
an imprint of Harper Collins
“… the founders of America introduced the themes
of oppression and redemption,
anticipation and disenchantment,
freedom and law,
that would carry through
four hundred years of American history.
Because of them, the story of Moses
became the story of America.”
Bruce Feiler
It’s not a project - a formal book review - that I’ve ever undertaken in any systematic way, yet here I am at the request of Trish Collins from TLC Book Tours, doing exactly that. So let me dispense with any suspense about this particular book: it’s two-thumbs up, and five stars!
America’s Prophet is an astutely woven work of non-fiction; well researched, and dotted with literary acumen as well as humor. Author Bruce Feiler (pronounced Filer) connects us ingeniously to Moses, transforming him from more than an ancient freedom fighter. With the author's skilled pen, Moses leads us through every age, and continues to lead us today.
From the Sumerian plains of antiquity to the Oval Office, with both secular and biblical history as a backdrop, the author demonstrates how the Moses narrative of the Exodus becomes the narrative of America's history; past, as well as present tense
Our storyteller derives a rich hue for this work from his own Jewish roots; roots that provide an artful backdrop, and an eloquence of pen. It's more than a mere connecting-of-the-dots because in every chapter, every scene we find Moses confronting the tyrants, dealing with his own personal insecurities, challenging the people, and exercising his powerful prophetic voice.
I began grabbing quotes early on; quotes that I found particularly powerful. But before long I had so many of them I decided to share but a few. For instance ...
“What happened first in churches happened next in government.”
or ...
“The persistence of Mosaic imagery at
nearly every major turning point in the country’s
formative century shows how clearly the
themes of chosenness, liberation from slavery,
freedom from authority, and collective moral responsibility
had become the tent pole of American public life.”
or ...
"For those in pain,
biblical time becomes any time."
or ...
"What starts in religions makes
it's way into politics.".
It’s not simply the body politic to which the author addresses himself, but the entirety of America's fabric: medicine, the arts, film, science, and more. He introduces Moses at every juncture, and in every introduction we recognize a prophet that lives on.
I believe it's safe to say that America's Prophet was a tough book to set down, and an even tougher book to forget. I also believe it's safe to say that we can put away any notion of faith - and even the Scriptures - having had nothing to do with America's humble beginnings. Here is a book that is bound to give the naysayers in our midst great pause.
With that, I'll end this review with my favorite of Bruce Feiler's quotes:
"... the ultimate lesson of Moses' life is that
the dream does not die with the dreamer,
the journey does not end on the mountaintop,
and the true destination in a narrative of hope
is not this year at all."
To get your own copy of America's Prophet, it's as easy as a trip to Amazon ...

For more about Bruce Feiler - his bio and many other books - check out his website.

My thanks to Trish Collins for the gift of the book, America's Prophet, and for the privilege of rendering an opinion. I've received no compensation for doing so.


Rita said...

Sounds like a very interesting book! Hope you have a wonderful week.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Kathleen -

This sounds like an interesting take on our country's history. I'll have to check it out.

Susan :)

KelliGirl said...

Sounds like a really od book.

My daughter's studying European history in school so I'm relearning it too. It's amazing how intertwined religion is with politics, wars and government. And so it goes.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Sounds awesome!!!!!!! Once I get my brain back, I might try my hand at it. I love the closing quote... it weaves back then with now with beyond.


Just a little something from Judy said...

Never heard of this book but with every quote you shared I was more convinced than ever that it would be on my reading list. So thankful that you shared it and in your ever so eloquent, thought-provoking, and inspiring way. So looking forward to reading it.

Loren said...

Kathleen! Excellent review!! Sounds like a great book :)
Thank you for sharing it with us!

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

We recently hosted a Ray Vander Lann conference at our church. His concepts of looking at the biblical teaching though the Hebrew lens is very interesting as well.

Very interesting!

Melanie said...


Debbie said...

Kathleen, you are the perfect person to do this review. I heard about it and was even asked to do a review but given my lack of time lately I didn't respond. After reading your review, maybe I should have considered. But maybe at a later date I'll read it.

Karen Lange said...

Sounds interesting! Thanks for sharing; I appreciate it.

LisaShaw said...

This sounds very interesting Kathleen!! The closing quote was quite a mouth to chew!

Praise the Lord!