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America's prophet : Moses and the American story
Feiler, Bruce S.
Adult Nonfiction E179 .F33 2009

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From Publishers' Weekly:

A bestselling author for his popular explorations of the lands of the Bible, Feiler turns his attention to the biblical figure of Moses in U.S. history. He argues that the story of the life of Moses as told in the book of Exodus has been the dominant metanarrative employed by political and social leaders in shaping America's identity, from the Pilgrims escaping religious persecution to the civil rights movement with its vision of a Promised Land. A journalist rather than a historian, Feiler approaches his subject using the same formula he has employed in previous books: physical walks through historic sites and interviews with experts. Although the book offers snippets of interesting anecdotes, the approach is uncontroversial and the book lacks forward momentum. Feiler is a popularizer, and readers interested in a light and cursory treatment of a theme in U.S. history will enjoy it. Readers wanting a more in-depth and critical understanding of the subject may want to look elsewhere. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Many books that examine the influence of the Bible on American society focus on controversies such as the true meaning of Genesis (Storms over Genesis: Biblical Battleground in America's Wars of Religion by William H. Jennings, Fortress, 2007) or Christmas displays on government property (War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot To Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought by John Gibson, Sentinel, 2005). Others, such as Melanie J. Wright's Moses in America: The Cultural Uses of Biblical Narrative (Oxford Univ., 2003), relate the Bible to aspects of popular culture. Feiler (Walking the Bible) goes in a different direction, starting with the unique thesis of Moses as Founding Father: the story of Moses as the story of America. Part history, part religious study, America's Prophet examines the American cycle of oppression, followed by inspired leadership, and culminating in the sometimes violent journey toward freedom. Feiler posits that from William Bradford and George Washington to Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr., the United States has been a nation of many Moseses, reluctant leaders giving voice and vision to those with neither, the very human leaders who ultimately fail in some respects, after many trials, to reach the Promised Land. Feiler gives us the American struggle-from the Pilgrims escaping religious persecution and slaves seeking human dignity to European Jews fleeing anti-Semitism and African Americans demanding equal rights-and in the same straightforward, readable style as his previous works. Yet the book possesses a depth and a gravitas that belie the accessible text, attributable to the numerous authorities-religious and civic, historians, and others-interviewed for the book. Verdict Both students of the Bible and of American history will find insight in the connections Feiler makes, and both specialists and lay readers in religious studies will want this.-Michael F. Russo, Louisiana State Univ. Libs., Baton Rouge (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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