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We highly recommend God and George W. Bush, by Paul Kengor
of God and George W. Bush, an outstanding book by Paul Kengor,
Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, private citizen.
I have an autographed copy of this book. I have never met George W. Bush, but I handed my copy of this book to Congressman Denny Hastert (Speaker of the House) and asked him if he'd sign it for me. He did so without hesitation.
Now, you might expect this book to be biased toward the President. It is not. But, it is also--unlike our mass media--not biased against him. This book does not seek to promote President Bush or any particular agenda. It merely seeks to explain the role of George W. Bush's personal religious convictions--his faith--in how he conducts himself as a man and as the President of the United States. It's an interesting and informative read.
This book is loaded with information. It's a compilation of research. Most books on political leaders are laden with opinion and conjecture--they essentially preach to the choir without providing any substance. This book is a welcome departure from such tripe.
Remember footnotes from those research papers you did in school? This book has 40 pages of such notes. And they're all in small type--otherwise, the page count would be 100 pages--maybe more. That alone says a great deal about the credibility of this book. It is authoritative. It uses facts and figures, rather than rhetoric and accusation.
Let me interrupt my review of this book by exposing a particular myth about President Bush. This myth says his IQ is 91. Related myths hold that he's dumb, because he mangled syntax during his 2000 election campaign. Dwight D. Eisenhower was the Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Forces in World War II. This was definitely not a position that a low IQ person would rise to. Keep in mind that Eisenhower outsmarted Hitler's staff--most of whom had genius IQs.
Yet, Eisenhower was--like Bush--famous for mangling syntax in political speeches. Bush's SAT score was 1206, which equates to an IQ close to 130. This nearly qualifies him for membership in Mensa, the International High IQ Society (meaning he's just a tad below genius level). Further, he was a jet fighter pilot--a job that takes a huge degree of intelligence to qualify for.
So, whatever else you may think of George W. Bush, he is not stupid. If you have had that notion about him, you now know better. And if you've had that notion, then your other notions about Bush are probably also based on misinformation. To ensure your views are accurate, order this book today and read it promptly. If you read this book and still don't like him, that's fine--you will have an informed opinion.
Bush, as we all know, sowed his wild oats. And, he paid a price for that. Which led him to change his ways. He had an epitome, and decided to become a different person. He has worked on that for many years. A key part of his faith is tolerance. He reaches out to people of all religions. From his support of Muslims before and after September 11 to his presentation of a very high award to the Catholic Pope, Bush exemplifies the religious tolerance this nation was founded upon.
Some folks will say a President should keep his religion private because it's his duty to keep church and state separate. The Constitution promises freedom of religion, not silence of religion. And that is a guiding principle of how Bush conducts himself as President. Kengor provides exhaustive research to show exactly where Bush stands on the questions of church and state. You may not agree with Bush's position in that regard, and that's fine. But, you owe it to yourself to at least know what that position is. It's been inexcusably mis-portrayed by our major media--which follow their own agenda rather than reporting their findings.
Kengor exposes dozens of claims made by the New York Times, Washington Post, and other sources of disinformation for the lies they are.
For example, consider the common lie that Bush is an intolerant, Bible-thumping Jesus freak who wears his religion on his sleeve. A look at the facts shows the media are using a double standard.
Here are the facts. From 2000 through 2003, Bush mentioned Christ in fourteen separate statements. And, the media excoriated him for this. From 2000 through, Bill Clinton mentioned Christ in forty-one separate statements. Yet, the media did not even bat an eye toward Clinton about this. Can you say the word "bias?" If not, you'd better practice--you will see example of example of this kind of thing--all exhaustively substantiated--in Kengor's book.
Bush's biggest year for mentioning Christ was in 2001. Then, he mentioned Christ seven times. Two of those times were during his Easter and Christmas messages. During the same year, he honored the holidays of other major religions--all of the holidays most Americans don't ever even think about.
Now, here's another interesting find. For any organization--even a church--to keep its non-profit status, it cannot do political lobbying. The IRS has a duty to revoke that organization's non-profit status if that organization engages in political activities. Which is why many organization have a separate group for that purpose. But in 2000, Clinton visited many, many black churches specifically to campaign for Al Gore. Clinton gave long speeches predicting that Bush would set black civil rights back by fifty years. As we know, that didn't happen--indeed, Bush has done more for black people in his first term than Clinton did in both terms combined. (Actually, Clinton's tax increases took money from black families and his increased regulations on businesses cost the nation millions of jobs. His failure to follow up on terrorist attacks cost the lives of many soldiers and civilians of all races).
While illegally campaigning in black churches, Clinton used histrionics and unfounded accusations to put real fear into blacks regarding their choice of President. The things he said were unbecoming for a President, and it was illegal for him to abuse the venue he abused to say them. But, he did this anyhow, knowing what the law was and not considering that maybe laws apply to him also and not just to others. Consequently, 85% of blacks voted for Gore. Yet, the Justice Department and the IRS failed to enforce the law. Clinton is still a free man, and none of those non-profits were penalized. In other words, a sitting President conspired with dozens of church leaders to lie about their activities--activities that had nothing to do with religion--and they all got away with it.
The media made zero noise about this whole sordid affair. Can you imagine how they'd react if Bush were to do this?
The existence of this brainwashing and bias is why you need to read this particular book. You owe it to yourself to form your own opinions, based on the documented evidence and not on lies or brainwashing. This book does not try to persuade. It merely seeks to inform. Unless you are informed, you are simply serving someone else's agenda--quite possibly to your own detriment. You now have the opportunity to learn the truth. You may decide to change your mind, whether you are for Bush or against him. But in either case, you will make a choice that is based on the evidence.
About these reviews
You may be wondering why the reviews here are any different from the hundreds of "reviews" posted online. Notice the quotation marks?
I've been reviewing books for sites like Amazon for many years now, and it dismays me that Amazon found it necessary to post a minimum word count for reviews. It further dismays me that it's only 20 words. If that's all you have to say about a book, why bother?
And why waste everyone else's time with such drivel? As a reader of such reviews, I feel like I am being told that I do not matter. The flippancy of people who write these terse "reviews" is insulting to the authors also, I would suspect.
This sound bite blathering taking the place of any actual communication is increasingly a problem in our mindless, blog-posting Webosphere. Sadly, Google rewards such pointlessness as "content" so we just get more if this inanity.
My reviews, contrary to current (non) standards, actually tell you about the book. I always got an "A" on a book review I did as a kid (that's how I remember it anyhow, and it's my story so I'm sticking to it). A book review contains certain elements and has a logical structure. It informs the reader about the book.
A book review may also tell the reader whether the reviewer liked it, but revealing a reviewer's personal taste is not necessary for an informative book review.
About your reviewer
About reading style
No, I do not "speed read" through these. That said, I do read at a fast rate. But, in contrast to speed reading, I read everything when I read a book for review.
Speed reading is a specialized type of reading that requires skipping text as you go. Using this technique, I've been able to consistently "max out" a speed reading machine at 2080 words per minute with 80% comprehension. This method is great if you are out to show how fast you can read. But I didn't use it in graduate school and I don't use it now. I think it takes the joy out of reading, and that pleasure is a big part of why I read.