Item description for Hand of Providence: The Strong and Quiet Faith of Ronald Reagan by Mary Beth Brown...
Overview In public opinion polls, Ronald Reagan is the most popular of modern presidents, and yet to most biographers, the man is still an enigma. This is because, as Brown explains, few have ever focused on this great man's faith. This book explores the life and personality of Ronald Reagan by focusing on his deeply-felt Christian beliefs and showing how faith guided him along his distinguished career and led him to his unprecedented success. With the support of Ronald Reagan's own words and writings and first hand interviews with Ronald Reagan's family, friends, and co-workers, Brown weaves a magnificant story of Reagan's strong devotion to God that will not only inspire Christians to enter public service and allow their faith to motivate all their actions but also help point others to the Cross of Jesus Christ--a cause that was near and dear to President Reagan's heart.
Public opinion polls, Ronald Reagan is the most popular of modern presidents, and yet to most biographers the man is still an enigma. This is because, as Brown explains, few have ever focused on this great man's faith. This book explores the life and personality of Ronald Reagan by focusing on his deep-felt Christian beliefs and showing how faith guided him along his distinguished career and led him to his unprecedented success. With the support of Ronald Reagan's own words and writings and firsthand interviews with Ronald Reagan's family, friends, and co-workers, Brown weaves a magnificent story of Reagan's strong devotion to God that will not only inspire Christians to enter public service and allow their faith to motivate all their actions but also help point others to the Cross of Jesus Christ-a cause that was near and dear to President Reagan's heart.
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Studio: Thomas Nelson
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.4" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.6" Weight: 0.75 lbs.
Release Date Feb 22, 2005
Publisher Thomas Nelson
ISBN 1595550127 ISBN13 9781595550125
Availability 0 units.
More About Mary Beth Brown
Mary Beth Brown is the author of the New York Times and USA Today best-selling book, "Hand of Providence: The Strong and Quiet Faith of Ronald Reagan" and "Condi: The Life of a Steel Magnolia". Mary Beth writes a nationally syndicated column, which can be viewed at www.marybethbrown.net, and is a frequent guest on radio and TV.
Reviews - What do customers think about Hand of Providence: The Strong and Quiet Faith of Ronald Reagan?
A Rare Glimpse into History Feb 20, 2005
We had a copy of Mary Beth Brown's book sitting on the coffee table when a cousin - who holds a master's degree in history - came for a visit. He took the book down to the guest room and spent all night reading it. I think this earns Hand of Providence the accolade of being a "page turner." It is also a spiritual experience and a most revelatory glimpse into the soul of a man who changed the world forever. Even the jaded will be moved. The cousin began to pray for the first time in decades.
Some new info, but largely other scholars Dec 22, 2004
The "Hand of Providence" is a pretty good read, just know that Mary Beth Brown brings little new research or insight to Ronald Reagan. This collection is largely the work of other Reagan biographers. If you are looking for a biography that deals with the political side of Reagan go to Lou Cannon and Peggy Noonan for character & faith. Mary Beth Brown does add some new info with her discussions with Michael Reagan. I understood a little bit more about President Reagan and Jane Wyman's divorce.
In terms of Reagan himself there is no doubt that faith deeply influenced his presidency and strategy during the Cold War, he says as much in his autobiography. Look, Reagan was the greatest president of the 20th century. He destroyed communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Reagan is really a throw back in terms of his values, he symbolizes Americana, westward expansion, eternal optimism, faith in God and values.
Brown's contribution with her book is that she recognizes the importance of Reagan's appeal in terms of faith with the "Reagan Democrats," her premise is that they were more attracted to his spiritual and faith politics than his economic ideas. This is no doubt very true, but they still work together for the kind of vast coalitions Reagan built. Another contribution by Brown, although not completely new was that Reagan knew how to win the votes of evangelical protestants and Roman Catholics at the same time. She was good to point that note out. She has some new information on Nelle Reagan as well. Overall this is a little simplified but largely accurate account of President Reagan and his faith. It's an interesting and very quick read, you could read it an afternoon. I wish she would have expanded her thoughts and had notes. I am glad Reagan's faith is getting more play in terms of publishing. It was so obvious with the language he used during the Cold War that there were obvious and overt spiritual overtones at work within the entire administration and their rhetoric.
Overall if you are just getting started in this area, this is a good place to start. After that check out the original sources.
Hand of Providence is a Great Read Jul 24, 2004
Hand of Providence is an awesome book, and when I opened and read the Forward by Michael Reagan, I couldn't put the book down.
I was an admirer of President Reagan before, but this book shows how he was used by God throughout his life. Now I understand how extraordinary a man he really was. I learned thing I never knew about him before.
The book is not about policy, and it isn't about government, it is about how one man faces the diffuculties of life and overcomes them with the power of prayer and reliance on his Savior, Jesus Christ.
I could see this book upsetting many secular humanists that also admire President Reagan.
In the final analysis, this book strengthened my own faith, as I learned how President Reagan overcame many trials. Read it and be inspired on nearly every page.
Poorly-written, shallow introduction to a compelling subject Jul 10, 2004
Just to get the politics out of the way, I am definitely a fan of Reagan.
That said, I think this was a poorly written book. First, the tone is entirely too close to Reagan. Obviously, the author is not a historian by training or by profession, but the book would have been a better read if it had not had such a boosterish tone.
The book also suffers from a simple case of bad writing. Though there are no howlers such as dangling participles, the book certainly has a "rushed, first-draft" tone to it. It contains many stylistic false steps, and reminds me of a mediocre term paper written by a high school student. "Reagan did blah blah blah. Reagan blah blah blah." How about using the pronoun "he" once in a while?
The text is also pedantic and given to cliches. ("the period in life between the innocence of childhood and the full responsibilities is a very challenging time.")
It veers off-topic on occasion. A discussion of the assassination attempt leads to a page-plus discussion on Biblical texts relating to angels.
Citations from noted evangelical leaders (James Dobson, for example) serve more to indicate that the author is plugged into that community; they do not, however, give much illumination to Reagan. Since they don't add anything, they simply waste space.
While the book makes an attempt to link Reagan's foreign policy with his religious views, more time could have been spent making the same connection on the domestic front. Many people think that Christian charity requires government programs. I don't share that assessment, and neither did Reagan. What about Reagan's beliefs lead him to reject that association? A case can be made, but the author doesn't do it.
The book does have some value. The description of the assassination attempt and the medical aftermath was interesting; perhaps the author's medical training helped out here. I was unaware of the ecumenical nature (Catholic father and brother; Protestant mother) of his birth family. That experience may helped Reagan reach out to the pope as well as to evangelical protestant leaders. The interviews that Reagan gave in the 60s and earlier, dug out by the author, give this member of the faith the conviction that Reagan was a true believer, and not a poser who conveniently mouthed a belief system just in time for electoral success.
I have not read Paul Kengor's book on the same subject, but having seen him on C-SPAN, I suspect that he's given a more in-depth, better written treatment to this important question of Reagan the man, the president, and the Christian.
Good Introduction to Reagan Jun 22, 2004
This book does not claim to offer an in-depth biography of Reagan, just an introduction to a frequently ignored but fundamental aspect of Reagan: his religious faith in God's plan for each individual. The book is personally inspiring because Reagan himself had his tough times: an alcoholic father, a broken engagement early on, a terrible death threat from Hollywood Communists, losing an infant child, an unexpected divorce, a disappointing movie career, and a tough loss to Gerald Ford for the 1976 Republican nomination. And yet throughout all of this, Reagan maintained his sense of destiny rooted in trust that, by God's providence, all would in the end turn out for the better. And it did.
On a more political level, the book has a chapter that captures a coalition that came into its own under Reagan and may very well decide the current presidential election: the coalition of evangelical Protestants and conservative Catholics. The Republican Party of today is unimaginable without that coalition. And all of that is owed to Ronald Reagan who, as the book points out, was uniquely situated to foster this new coalition, given his background with a Catholic father and an evangelical Protestant mother.
The book captures what is most important about Reagan, and for that it is well worth the price.