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The exodus story is America's story. Moses is our real founding father.

The pilgrims quoted his story. Franklin and Jefferson proposed he appear on the U.S. seal. Washington and Lincoln were called his incarnations. The Statue of Liberty and Superman were molded in his image. Martin Luther King, Jr., invoked him the night before he died. Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama cited him as inspiration. For four hundred years, one figure inspired more Americans than any other. His name is Moses.

In this groundbreaking book, New York Times bestselling author Bruce Feiler travels through touchstones in American history and traces the biblical prophet's influence from the Mayflower through today. He visits the island where the pilgrims spent their first Sabbath, climbs the bell tower where the Liberty Bell was inscribed with a quote from Moses, retraces the Underground Railroad where "Go Down, Moses" was the national anthem of slaves, and dons the robe Charlton Heston wore in The Ten Commandments.

"Even a cursory review of American history indicates that Moses has emboldened leaders of all stripes," Feiler writes, "patriot and loyalist, slave and master, Jew and Christian. Could the persistence of his story serve as a reminder of our shared national values? Could he serve as a unifying force in a disunifying time? If Moses could split the Red Sea, could he unsplit America?"

One part adventure story, one part literary detective story, one part exploration of faith in contemporary life, America's Prophet takes readers through the landmarks of America's narrative—from Gettysburg to Selma, the Silver Screen to the Oval Office—to understand how Moses has shaped the nation's character.

Meticulously researched and highly readable, America's Prophet is a thrilling, original work of history that will forever change how we view America, our faith, and our future.

Published: HarperCollins on Oct 6, 2009
ISBN: 9780061939259
List price: $9.99
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Mr. Feiler develops a Mosaic narrative for America and starts with what he claims is the First Thanksgiving in North America instead of New England. Research has revealed that St. Augustine, the nation's oldest city, was the site of the nation's first Thanksgiving. Be that as it may the author continues his travels to historic sites weaving the importance to the founding and continued transformation of the U.S.A. was influenced by the story of Moses.As the author tours historic sites he finds relevant ties to support his theory of Moses and how this prophet works into the very fabric of America, our country's history and it's future. As referenced above Mr. Feiler jumps to the Puritans to start his memoir of his travels with Thanksgiving and the Passover and brings us through important turning points in history to the present day.The writing though a bit verbose is interesting and recounts history from those who live in the area the events took place and the historical records and later in the book the author is able to interview some who were actually in some way involved with the events in history he speaks of like the civil Rights Movements of the 1960's. And he follows a few steps of the underground railroad but gets the reason for the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation wrong but with good intention and probably what he was taught. The Proclamation was a necessary measure designed to deprive the Confederacy of slave labor, bring additional men into the Union Army and mainly to stop England from supporting the Confederacy.The Emancipation Proclamation actually did not free any slaves for the Southern States did not recognize the authority of President Lincoln to govern their affairs and in the North, it was beyond the powers of the President to actually abolish slavery in any state. But it does help in Mr. Feiler's narrative as President Lincoln as the Moses of the time and takes us another step away from history.But the author's narrative of the underground railroad is very interesting as is the symbolism he shows attached to the Liberty Bell and the Statue of Liberty and how the American People made these symbols of Liberty that are still strong to this day the world over. The famous and brave people the author picks out to tie their story into his theory are important and interesting. Some include Thomas Paine, George Washington, Harriet Tubman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Abraham Lincoln, C.B DeMille, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Ronald Reagan,George W. Bush and others. The analogy of Moses even made it's way into comics such as Superman.Of course the author relates his own families Passover celebration with us and how he will share the Exodus story with is children when they ask. His answer is a good one and so is the summation of his book. America is the promise land for many but more important is the legacy of hope for a better tomorrow. It is the author belief and hope that Moses will continue to inspire new generations to renew the story of freedom.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This book was a struggle to read, but by the last half I was glad I was doing it. Had I given up, I never would have known the connection to Moses in our country, never dreamed that he was such inspiration to our founding fathers as well as to the Statue of Liberty and the civil rights movement, even Cecil B. DeMille! But it fits, Feiler sees 3 themes, 'escaping oppression, seeking the promised land...tension between freedom and law...building a society that welcomes the outsider and uplifts the downtrodden'. It makes one think & rethink our arguments about religion & politics, that's a good book...one that makes me think.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I have made “American History” a priority topic the last couple of years and this was an interesting way to look at the “American National Story.” Feiler’s premise that the story of Moses and the Israelites can be used as a metaphor for many of the major events in the history of the United States from the beginnings with the pilgrims through the founding of the United States of America and the Civil War and up to Martin Luther King and beyond is intriguing and this intelligent young man often makes a compelling case for his thesis. Some of his arguments are compelling as he shows how many of America’s leaders actually viewed themselves in this light as evidenced by quotations from their speeches and/or their writings. However, there were often times that Feiler seemed to be stretching his examples to the breaking point and sometimes he was redundant in trying to push his point home. He is obviously passionate about the story of Moses and almost as passionate about its influence in the American psyche. As in his books about the Bible, this is a record of his personal odyssey to trace these connections. I found the book interesting and sometimes compelling, but I may be somewhat prejudiced because I knew Bruce when he was a teenager and I have long admired him as a dynamic and intelligent young man. If you are interested in American history this book gives you a different and interesting viewpoint from which to view it.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

Mr. Feiler develops a Mosaic narrative for America and starts with what he claims is the First Thanksgiving in North America instead of New England. Research has revealed that St. Augustine, the nation's oldest city, was the site of the nation's first Thanksgiving. Be that as it may the author continues his travels to historic sites weaving the importance to the founding and continued transformation of the U.S.A. was influenced by the story of Moses.As the author tours historic sites he finds relevant ties to support his theory of Moses and how this prophet works into the very fabric of America, our country's history and it's future. As referenced above Mr. Feiler jumps to the Puritans to start his memoir of his travels with Thanksgiving and the Passover and brings us through important turning points in history to the present day.The writing though a bit verbose is interesting and recounts history from those who live in the area the events took place and the historical records and later in the book the author is able to interview some who were actually in some way involved with the events in history he speaks of like the civil Rights Movements of the 1960's. And he follows a few steps of the underground railroad but gets the reason for the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation wrong but with good intention and probably what he was taught. The Proclamation was a necessary measure designed to deprive the Confederacy of slave labor, bring additional men into the Union Army and mainly to stop England from supporting the Confederacy.The Emancipation Proclamation actually did not free any slaves for the Southern States did not recognize the authority of President Lincoln to govern their affairs and in the North, it was beyond the powers of the President to actually abolish slavery in any state. But it does help in Mr. Feiler's narrative as President Lincoln as the Moses of the time and takes us another step away from history.But the author's narrative of the underground railroad is very interesting as is the symbolism he shows attached to the Liberty Bell and the Statue of Liberty and how the American People made these symbols of Liberty that are still strong to this day the world over. The famous and brave people the author picks out to tie their story into his theory are important and interesting. Some include Thomas Paine, George Washington, Harriet Tubman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Abraham Lincoln, C.B DeMille, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Ronald Reagan,George W. Bush and others. The analogy of Moses even made it's way into comics such as Superman.Of course the author relates his own families Passover celebration with us and how he will share the Exodus story with is children when they ask. His answer is a good one and so is the summation of his book. America is the promise land for many but more important is the legacy of hope for a better tomorrow. It is the author belief and hope that Moses will continue to inspire new generations to renew the story of freedom.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This book was a struggle to read, but by the last half I was glad I was doing it. Had I given up, I never would have known the connection to Moses in our country, never dreamed that he was such inspiration to our founding fathers as well as to the Statue of Liberty and the civil rights movement, even Cecil B. DeMille! But it fits, Feiler sees 3 themes, 'escaping oppression, seeking the promised land...tension between freedom and law...building a society that welcomes the outsider and uplifts the downtrodden'. It makes one think & rethink our arguments about religion & politics, that's a good book...one that makes me think.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I have made “American History” a priority topic the last couple of years and this was an interesting way to look at the “American National Story.” Feiler’s premise that the story of Moses and the Israelites can be used as a metaphor for many of the major events in the history of the United States from the beginnings with the pilgrims through the founding of the United States of America and the Civil War and up to Martin Luther King and beyond is intriguing and this intelligent young man often makes a compelling case for his thesis. Some of his arguments are compelling as he shows how many of America’s leaders actually viewed themselves in this light as evidenced by quotations from their speeches and/or their writings. However, there were often times that Feiler seemed to be stretching his examples to the breaking point and sometimes he was redundant in trying to push his point home. He is obviously passionate about the story of Moses and almost as passionate about its influence in the American psyche. As in his books about the Bible, this is a record of his personal odyssey to trace these connections. I found the book interesting and sometimes compelling, but I may be somewhat prejudiced because I knew Bruce when he was a teenager and I have long admired him as a dynamic and intelligent young man. If you are interested in American history this book gives you a different and interesting viewpoint from which to view it.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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