Teaser Tuesday: Believe Me

Like a package you’ve been tracking finally arriving on your doorstep, the Wheel of Time has turned ‘round to Teaser Tuesday.

I really need help for my habit. And by help, I mean more funding. This past week I added four new books to my “Currently Reading” stack, despite not yet finishing The Wizard and the Prophet by Charles C. Mann.

First, since Raleigh SuperCon announced Chris Bachalo as a special guest, I just *had* to order my own copy of Death of the Endless (#1-2). The book arrived on Sunday, which was unusual, and thankfully escaped any rain damage while it waited for us to get home from church and take the box inside.

Then, yesterday, Krystal wanted to do some clothes shopping. While she browsed, I went next door to look through our local big-box booksellers’ clearance aisles. I ended up buying to compilation cookbooks put out by Food and Wine. I love their recipes.

And finally, yesterday the postman rang twice to make sure I brought in a package out of the torrential downpour. Kudos if you got that classic film reference. So far, no one else has. Anyway, inside that package was yet another book: Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump by John Fea.

This book is an ARC that I have received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review to be published here on my blog, on Amazon, and on Goodreads no later than June 30.

I suppose I should also give a few additional disclaimers:

  • Fea and I follow each other on both Twitter and Facebook
  • I have interviewed Fea for a podcast
  • I participated in certain online discussions on Fea’s blog, some of which influenced this book.
  • I am tangentially included in Fea’s dedication, which reads “To the 19%”
  • I will be driving two hours to attend a launch event for this book in mid-July

The Goodreads Blurb:

“Believe me” may be the most commonly used phrase in Donald Trump’s lexicon. Whether about building a wall or protecting the Christian heritage, the refrain is constant. And to the surprise of many, about 80% percent of white evangelicals have believed Trump-at least enough to help propel him into the White House. Historian John Fea is not surprised-and in Believe Me he explains how we have arrived at this unprecedented moment in American politics. An evangelical Christian himself, Fea argues that the embrace of Donald Trump is the logical outcome of a long-standing evangelical approach to public life defined by the politics of fear, the pursuit of worldly power, and a nostalgic longing for an American past. In the process, Fea challenges his fellow believers to replace fear with hope, the pursuit of power with humility, and nostalgia with history.

The Truly Random Number Generator sends us to page 58:

But even as Trump said all the right things to appeal to evangelical voters, these values voters still had to come to grips with an inconvenient truth: Trump appeared to be the most immoral candidate in recent memory. Trump’s sins went beyond DUI convictions and the occasional recreational use of marijuana. His entire career, and his success as a television star and public figure, was built on vices incompatible with the moral teachings of Christianity. And by his own admission, he never, ever, asked forgiveness for his sins. 


And now, a few reviews:

The Pope Who Would Be King by David I Kertzer

Pope Who Would Be King coverI must confess that I don’t know much about modern Italian history. I had no real understanding about how men like Garibaldi, Mazzini, and Cavour helped create a unified Italy. After reading this book, I’ve come to the conclusion that Italian unification was due as much to the incompetence of Pius IX as to the grit and determination of the aforementioned men. Pius comes across as a type of Charles I, George III, or Louis XVI: the wrong person with the wrong ideas at the wrong time. And thus, I am somewhat suspect of the author’s bias.

Looking through his other works, and judging solely on their titles, it seems as if Kertzer has an anti-Catholic bent, or more precisely, a strong hatred for the political power the Church once held. Fine. I get that. However, such bias can lead one to treat subjects unfairly or allow presentism to creep in to an analysis.

These concerns have not turned me against the author. His style is engaging and his retelling of historical events has in this case helped be better understand the process by which Italy was unified. At some point I will likely seek out some of his other titles to see if my perceptions regarding bias and ideology are correct.

London’s Triumph by Stephen Alford

Alford guides us through the bustling city of London in Shakespeare’s day via anecdote and vignette. He makes us care about both the city and its inhabitants. While I did not find this book particularly memorable, it will nonetheless aid my teaching of Elizabethan and early Stuart England. I would recommend this book to those who desire a better understand of the economic climate in which Shakespeare lived.

London's Triumph cover

What are you reading today?

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